words // Brandon Richard
Touted as one of the all-time great cornerback prospects entering the season, Arizona Cardinals rookie Patrick Peterson is making his biggest impact in an unexpected way – returning kicks. This past Sunday, Peterson returned an 80-yard punt for a touchdown against the St. Louis Rams, his fourth punt returned for a touchdown this season. Those four returns tie an NFL record, also held by Chicago’s Devin Hester (2007), Rick Upchurch of the Denver Broncos (1978), and Jack Christiansen of the Detroit Lions (1951). Additionally, Peterson is the second rookie in that bunch to accomplish the feat (Christiansen) and the only player ever to have four punt return touchdowns of 80 yards more.
To celebrate Peterson’s accomplishment, the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio is displaying the size 12 Nike Zoom Vapor Carbon Fly football cleats that he wore for his game-winning punt return touchdown against the Rams in overtime back on November 6th. That return, the third of his four, made him the first player to ever return three punts for touchdowns within his first eight career games.
“When I heard the Hall of Fame called, I was obviously extremely flattered,” Peterson said about the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s request to display his football cleats. “To have your name mentioned alongside some of the best players ever to play the game is humbling. At the same time, there are 10 other guys on the field blocking and helping me out and I definitely appreciate them too. As a rookie, this is a good start but my motivation is to keep improving and working hard to be as good as we can possibly be.”