Marcus Peters considers Seahawks star Marshawn Lynch a "cousin," from his days growing up in Oakland, California, with Lynch about eight years older. Lynch continues to advise the former Washington Huskies cornerback through this weekend's NFL scouting combine here in Indianapolis.
What's Lynch telling him?
"That's personal," Peters said today. "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."
Just over three months after UW coach Chris Petersen dismissed the fourth-year junior from the Huskies' program for repeated arguments with coaches and team rules, Peters answered far more about his personal side than his professional one this morning during a 10-minutes session with the league's media at Lucas Oil Stadium.
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"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 said from one of three podiums here reserved for the combine's top prospects or most intriguing stories.
"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.’’
Many rate Peters as the second-best cornerback available in the NFL draft that begins April 30, a lock-down cover guy who attacks passes in flight. But few today asked about his football skills. Most wanted to know more about why he got kicked off his college team three months ago.
Three times he called his run-ins with Petersen and his new Washington staff, which arrived after Steve Sarkisian and his former staff left to USC in December 2013, a "miscommunication." He did not elaborate.
"I am a 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 and the cornerback stopping by Petersen's office at Husky Stadium to reconnect.
Petersen told Seattle's CBS Sports 1090 radio this month: "Our hope and wish around here (is) that Marcus is really going to be better for it down the road, and time will tell. 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 kicking him off the Huskies' team; 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.
He said his dad's advice to him was: "You've got to step up and man up to what has happened. You've got to take full ownership of it."
"It was hard at first to go back to him. He is a coach; he was my high school coach back in Oakland, McClymonds High School," Peters said. "I went back and I actually talked to my 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."
Here is the transcript of Peters' 10 minutes this morning:
On what the message is he is delivering to NFL teams about being kicked off the team at UW: “That I just learn from my mistakes. I made some immature decisions at the University of Washington and it hurt me truly. So I’ve just got to learn from my mistakes and I grow from it.’’
On what makes him the best corner in the draft: “The coaches. They make that decision. But I bring a shutdown mentality to the game. I’m a ballhawk. I’m a team player.’’
On participating at UW’s Pro Day: “Yes, sir. It’s on April 2.’’
On what went into reconciling with the UW coaching staff: “I recently went up there a couple of weeks ago and had a real good conversation with coach (Chris) Petersen. We sat down and we talked about everything that happened. I sincerely apologized to him again for what I put him and the team through throughout this year. But it was a good conversation and he welcomed me into the Pro Day.’’
On who reached out to who: “It was a mutual thing. I went up to Seattle to take care of a traffic violation and while I was up there I just stopped by the school to say hello to the coaching staff and my teammates.’’
On the report that he choked a coach at UW: “False.’’
On what was the problem at UW: “Just miscommunication. Mostly on my behalf. I didn’t take the coaching transition too well.’’
On his UW teammates standing up for him: “That’s excellent. I really think in my heart that I’m a real good teammate. I’m a leader within me just going out there and letting my show speak for everything. I’m not so much vocal but on everything else I just goo out there and I bring everything to the table for my teammates. I’m doing it so we can all be successful.’’
On training at EXOS with Danny Shelton and Shaq Thompson and apparently being the first one in every day: “It’s an excellent thing for me to be able to be back with some of my teammates. Especially Shaq and Danny. We was some of the top guys on the defense and Danny we came in together as freshmen so we reminisce all the time about what has happened. But it’s just like they tell me that you was dearly missed by the team, you made some mistakes but just move on bro.’’
On what he did after he was kicked off the team: “I went back home and enjoyed some time with my family. During the season I had a son and I went back home and I just enjoyed my time with my son.’’
On what teams want to know from him here: “They want to know the character. Am I a hothead? Which is false. I made some immature decision and I live from them and I learn from them and I grow as a man.’’
On a report that he tweeted his teammates the defensive assignments the week he was released: “Yes sir. Some of the younger guys on the team they reached out and they asked about some of the assignments I prided myself on being able to know all the assignments I the secondary when I was there at the University of Washington and they just wanted some insight on that.’’
On if that was hard to do: “Not at all. When someone needs help I’m always there to help.’’
On if he thinks he will be the first corner taken: “I don’t make that decision. But I’m going to go out there Monday and give it my best foot and I’ll let the coaches and GMs make that decision.’’
On what he was told by his dad about how to handle being kicked off the team: “You’ve got to speak up and you’ve got to man up to what has happened. You’ve got to take full ownership for what has happened. It was hard at first for me to go back because he’s a high school coach at my high school, McClymonds High School in Oakland, and I went back talked to my high school team explaining to them what has happened because we have some guys going off t the college level next year and just explain to them what happened and I learned and I mature.’’
On what Marshawn Lynch has told him throughout this process: “That’s personal. We keep things personal. That’s someone that has mentored me throughout my whole life. I look up to him a lot. He’s a great Oakland citizen but every conversation that has happened between us stays personal.’
On how he met Lynch: “I’ve been knowing him my whole life. I watched him grow up playing Pop Warner football. I watched him in high school and I watched him through college and got a chance to go play at Washington and he played for Seattle, so yeah.’’
More on what he learned about being kicked off the team: “I live and I learn from it, you know? There are going to be things that isn’t going to go right but I went through one of the worst things that could happen to me in life. I got kicked off my team, I wasn’t able to finish out my college career with my teammates and I own up to that and I man up to that and I just move forward.’’
On having said in the past he got too full of himself and if what happened humbled him: “Yes, a whole lot. It humbled me a real lot. And what really has humbled me is me having a child. 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. I have someone that is looking up to me a lot so I have to be 100 percent mature.’’
On his child’s name: “Carson Peters.’’
On if he can elaborate more on the miscommunication at Washington:“Just miscommunication.’’
On being good in press coverage: “It’s the island. You’ve got to protect the island. You don’t want nothing bad to come upon your island and I protect it dearly.’’
Expanding on how physical and aggressive he is and not being grabby with the rules in the NFL: “It’s a lot of guys in the league that they have a reputation for grabbing but you’ve just got to learn how to be physical and do it at the right time. They give you a certain amount of yards you can be physical with and other than that you just shadow and play the ball.’’
On what he says to coaches who might be hesitant about drafting him and if he can guarantee it won’t happen again: “I don’t guarantee anything. Everyone makes mistakes. All I tell them is that I’ve matured from the decisions I made in the past and I’m moving forward.’’
On what he has been working on since being dismissed from the team:“Everything. I’m trying to get better at my overall game within everything I bring to the table’’
On how long he played for his dad: “Three years in high school.’’
On if he had any problems with his dad: “That’s one of the hardest things you can do is play for your dad because he is not your dad on the field at that time, he’s your coach, he’s teaching everyone on the field, al the rest of my teammates, life lessons through that and we are learning that as football players.’’
On if he thought he’d blown his last chance when he got kicked off the team: “I never figured I lost my chance. 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 and I go in these interviews and I go in and accept full responsibility for what happened and I just take full ownership of it.’’
On what Shaq Thompson’s best position: “I don’t make that decision. That dude’s an amazing football player, though.’’
On the difference in the UW program under Steve Sarksian and Petersen: “It wasn’t a big difference. Just different coaching styles within everything but not a big difference.’’