Marcus Peters has had numerous advisers in the three months since coach Chris Petersen kicked him off the Washington Huskies for confrontations with coaches, but one stood out.
His high school coach in Oakland — who also happens to be his dad.
“You’ve got to step up and man up to what has happened,” Michael Peters of McClymonds High School told his deposed son. “You’ve got to take full ownership of it.”
Others included the trainers and pre-draft scripters at EXOS, a Phoenix-based athletes performance center that got Peters and former UW teammates Danny Shelton and Shaq Thompson ready for this week’s NFL Scouting Combine.
Lastly, there’s a longtime friend from Oakland who is so close to Peters — whom most consider is the No. 2 cornerback in this NFL draft class — that Peters considers him a “cousin.”
The Seahawks’ star running back is 6 years older than Peters and has known him since Peters was playing Pop Warner football in grade school. What’s Lynch telling him?
“That’s personal,” an admittedly “humbled” Peters said Saturday, a day of interviews with teams before he runs drills on the Lucas Oil Stadium field. “We keep it personal.
“That’s someone who has mentored me throughout my whole life. I look up to him a lot. He’s a great Oakland citizen. But every conversation we’ve had is personal.”
Because the fourth-year junior hasn’t played since Petersen dismissed his best cover man on Nov. 6 for repeated arguments with coaches and violating team rules, Peters answered far more about his personal side than his football one during a 10-minute session with the league’s media.
He flatly denied a national report from November that he choked a Huskies assistant coach.
“False,” is all he said about that which Washington has also debunked.
“I just learned from my mistakes. I made some immature decisions at the University of Washington, and it hurt me, you know? I just have to learn from my mistakes and grow from them.”
Peters spoke from one of three lecterns reserved for the combine’s top prospects and/or most intriguing stories.
Peters is both.
Some see him getting drafted in the top 25 in April. He could go higher than current Falcons starter Desmond Trufant, the former Wilson High and UW star picked No. 22 overall by Atlanta in 2013.
And he has a large enough of a red flag on his character to halt an Indianapolis 500.
Shelton is a potential top-10 pick on April 30 as the one of the nation’s top two defensive tackles here at the combine. HeThe Auburn High grad said Peters “seems like a totally different guy” thatthan the one Petersen booted away from Montlake three months ago.
“There are a lot of people that make mistakes, and I am blessed to have a second chance with me being able to be at the combine,” Peters said. “. ... I go in these interviews and I go in and accept full responsibility for what happened. I just take full ownership of it.”
Three times Saturday he called his run-ins with Petersen and his new Washington staff, which arrived after Steve Sarkisian and his former staff left tofor USC in December 2013, a “miscommunication.” He would not elaborate.
“I am a great team player,” Peters said. “I sincerely apologize again for what I put the team and him (Petersen) through.
“I didn’t take the coaching transition too well.”
Peters said how appreciative he is for Petersen inviting him back to UW for its Pro Day workouts for scouts on April 2 at the Huskies’ Dempsey Indoor facility. That was the result of Peters flying from his home in Oakland to Seattle to settle a parking violation a few weeks ago then wisely stopping by Petersen’s office at Husky Stadium to reconnect.
“Our hope and wish around here (is) that Marcus is really going to be better for it down the road, and time will tell,” Petersen told Seattle’s 1090 AM radio this month. “Again, we want to help everybody, including Marcus down the road as he goes forward in his career.
“I hope he has a really good NFL career, I really do. And if he does, I’m going to think even some of the hard times that he had here with us is one of the reasons that he’s doing good in the NFL, because he’s learned some good lessons – just how to do things. And so he will be part of the Pro Day. Again, we want guys to be able to chase their dreams, guys (to) learn and improve and get better. And we really hope that for Marcus, as well.”
Peters said two things have humbled him in the last year: Petersen ending his college career **four* games early; and his girlfriend’s birth of his son Carson.
“Me bringing a child into this world has really humbled me a whole lot, because now I have to be able to provide for someone other than myself,” Peters said. “I have someone that is looking up to me a lot so I have to be 100 percent mature.’’
He also had a humbling experience going back to Oakland and explaining to his father why he was home in November of a college football season.
“It was hard at first to go back to him,” Peters said. “I went back and I actually talked to my (McClymonds) high school team about what had happened, because they have players who are going to the college level next year, and I just explained to them what happened.
“I learned from it, and I’ve matured.”
The first question Thompson got asked Saturday: What are you?
“An outside linebacker,” Thompson said, flatly.
The dynamic playmaker was a star running back and safety at Grant High School in Sacramento before signing with UW. He spent a few practices at safety before Huskies coordinator Justin Wilcox moved him to outside linebacker. That’s where he mostly played until this past season, when Petersen’s new staff moved him occasionally to inside linebacker – and by October, running back, when the Huskies’ had injuries there.
Thompson denied a report he would do running-back drills here.
He said NFL teams here that run 3-4 defensive schemes have been talking to him about playing weakside inside linebacker. He weighs 228 pounds, and says he doesn’t think he needs to get bigger because that may diminish some of his game-changing speed.
Shelton was an A student for most of his time at UW. He has studied abroad in Tahiti with the fourth Husky here, pass rusher Hau’oli Kikaha. Shelton is heading back to UW after the combine to finish two classes and graduate in June with his degree in anthropology.
He never imagined while growing up in the south King County city of Auburn being where he was Saturday, a star attraction at the NFL combine who by Saturday afternoon has interviewed with Baltimore, Green Bay, Arizona, Chicago, New Orleans and the New York Giants, with more scheduled through the weekend.
He was at the same podium from which Seahawks coach Pete Carroll had spoken Friday. He was wearing a green-and-white, heritage Samoan wrap over his city-block wide shoulders and combine workout gear. He had clipped sunglasses to his credential lanyard hanging from his massive shoulders.
One national reporter remarked it looked like he was about to lift a car.
“Honestly, it’s all exciting. I never pictured myself in this position,” Shelton said, smiling. “I’ve always just seen college. The NFL? I’ve never pictured myself being at the combine. I was basically just hoping to get an invite to the combine and the Senior Bowl.
“But I’ve lived it. I’ve just been livin’ it up and taking everything in.”
News reports Saturday said running back Marshawn Lynch and the Seahawks agreed to a two-year contract worth $21 million.
Lynch’s agent, Doug Hendrickson, tweeted, “Contrary to reports there is no marshawn lynch deal.” Hendrickson said the two sides “are talking.”
Reports said the first year of the contract would be for $12 million, with the second year worth $9 million.