Adrian Peterson, the 35-year-old Washington Redskins running back, said he wants to play four more seasons in the NFL.
“I never want to be in a position where you look back and say, ‘Man, I should have played two more years,'” Peterson told TMZ. “‘I should have played another year.’ I want to enjoy it.”
That sounds crazy, but Peterson is a certified monster. When he resurrected his career from scratch in 2018, when he looked like he had no chance, but then ran for 1,042 yards after Washington signed him in August, he was remarkable. It seems unlikely that he has four years left, but it is difficult to count on him.
Within that TMZ Sports story there was also a brief mention of Peterson’s pursuit of Emmitt Smith’s all-time record, reinforcing how unbreakable that record appears to be.
Adrian Peterson still far behind Emmitt Smith
Peterson is one of the best backs of all time. He left Oklahoma a year earlier, then ran for 1,341 yards as a rookie. He has been an All-Pro four times and an NFL MVP once. He is one of only five runners to have a 1,000-yard season at age 33 or older.
And he’s still 4,139 yards behind Smith’s historical record.
One of the greatest running backs of all time, who got off to an early start and had a peak as good as any in this century, could have four seasons over 1,000 yards, up to his 38-year season, and still be a bit short on Blacksmithing. . Wow.
If Peterson has a season over 1,000 yards, he would be on an incredibly short list. John Riggins and John Henry Johnson are the only 35-year-old runners to record a 1,000-yard season. Marcus Allen is the only 36-year-old running back who has posted at least 800 yards, according to the professional football benchmark. Allen and Johnson are the only two 37-year-old runners to reach 200 yards.
Peterson has overcome a lot of odds, but he would have to rewrite history to post even a couple more 1,000-yard seasons. And if Peterson can’t catch Smith, can anyone else?
Peterson is a throwback, like Smith
Smith didn’t play that long ago with the Dallas Cowboys and Arizona Cardinals, but it was a different time. He hardly ever left the field and had no trouble handling a ton of carries year after year at a time when teams were still treating runners as the basis of their offense.
Peterson is a throwback too. He is a star running back who spent years with the Minnesota Vikings as the fulcrum of his offense. And unless he has a huge final chapter in his career, and does things that no NFL player has ever come close to doing before, he will fall far short of Smith.
Peterson is not even the main active running back in the NFL. That is Frank Gore. Gore is still 3,008 yards behind Smith and has transitioned to a supporting role. Gore is 37 years old and hasn’t had a 1,000-yard season since 2016. He’s also not catching Smith. The next two backups on the active list are LeSean McCoy and Marshawn Lynch, and neither is signed at this time. Following them is Mark Ingram, who is more than 11,000 yards behind Smith. Ingram could add OJ Simpson’s career total of 11,236 rushing yards and still be below Smith’s record. Think about it.
Smith’s career has been somewhat underestimated. Jim Brown, Walter Payton or Barry Sanders receive more love when they talk about the best comeback in history. Credit for Smith’s success sometimes carries over to the great team around him, primarily the offensive line. But his record of 18,355 yards is probably never equaled. He was also a notable playoff player with 1,586 postseason yards and three rings as well.
We’re going to marvel at Peterson, who is doing things in his early thirties. If he plays four more years as expected, it will be a phenomenal feat. And it will draw even more attention to Emmitt’s greatness.