Adrian Peterson’s choice to sign with the New Orleans Saints was a bit surprising last week, since the team already had an established No. 1 back in Mark Ingram.
But Peterson said Tuesday, “I knew what I was getting myself into” when he joined a Saints backfield that traditionally spreads the ball around to multiple backs — and he was obviously comfortable enough with the idea to sign without even waiting to see what options might open after the draft.
Peterson, who was speaking to the New Orleans media for the first time on a conference call, said he has followed Ingram since his days at Alabama.
“I’m gonna put my arm around that young guy [Ingram], teach him all I can teach him, and we’re gonna do this thing together,” said Peterson, who is also excited with the idea of playing with quarterback Drew Brees and one of the NFL’s top-ranked offenses.
“Envisioning myself in the backfield being behind Drew Brees, it was like, ‘Wow, what will the opposing team do?'” Peterson said.
Peterson, 32, signed a two-year deal that includes $3.5 million guaranteed in the first year, plus incentives.
He said he could have waited until after the draft to choose a team — and that he actually had two calls from other teams who might be interested in the week before the draft. But he said his comfort level was so high in New Orleans and he felt the “love and energy” in the building that he didn’t need to wait any longer.
“Ultimately, what it came down to for me was comfort level when I had my visit,” Peterson said.
Peterson also took some offense to the notion that anyone would question whether he “has anything left” at age 32, despite having most of last season wiped out by a knee injury.
“It’s kind of crazy to hear people even comment on how many years I have left and compare me to other running backs, when I’m just my own individual,” Peterson said. “You know, a different mindset, different work ethic, different body type.
“This is one thing that I really dislike about the NFL is how people kind of put guys in a box – especially running backs after that 30 mark. You want to make it seem like guys are going downhill when that’s not necessarily the case. So in my mind, I feel like I have a lot of years left. … That’s just the mentality that I have.
“So, yeah, I have several years left to play.”