He was the first one off the sidelines after a big defensive play.
He rallied the troops and tried to energize the team.
In short, Mike Peterson did what he usually does. Only, he wasn’t on the field wearing pads.
Peterson was benched for Sunday’s game in Detroit after a contentious week that included Jack Del Rio banishing Peterson from the team on Wednesday and Thursday. But after a summitt on Friday morning, the two sides seem to have reached a middle ground.
Peterson didn’t play on Sunday, but there was no hint of discontent.
“Everytime we were coming off, he was meeting us half-way on the field,” said fellow linebacker Clint Ingram. “As far as his situation goes, we don’t have any control over it. It’s Mike and coach.”
In Peterson’s stead, Darryl Smith tied for the team lead in tackles and recorded a sack and half. It’s clear that Smith will be the Jaguars middle linebacker of the future. And the future may be now.
After the game, Jeff Lageman asked Del Rio about his plans for Peterson going forward, but Del Rio wouldn’t say much.
“I really don’t want to make today about that. There will be time enough to answer that question and make that decision. We know we have good football players and we’ll work together as an organization right now with the sole intention of winnign football games.”
Peterson wants a new contract–has since the off-season. The Jaguars aren’t going to give him a long term deal. In fact, they made him an offer in the off-season, but it wasn’t what Peterson was looking for. Now, by all indications, Peterson’s days in Jacksonville are numbered.
The question is this: do you play Peterson the rest of the year knowing that he isn’t going to be here next year? Players often go into self preservation mode in these situations. Don’t get hurt so you can sign that free agent deal in the off-season.
It’s possible that Peterson has played his last game in a Jaguars uniform. Stay tuned.