A Seahawk on the surface, but a 49er at heart

Julian Peterson is now in his third season wearing the colors of the Seattle Seahawks, but he still keeps in touch with several of his former 49ers teammates and keeps a close eye on what's going on with the team that brought him into the NFL. Here, Peterson engagingly covers a spectrum of topics about his new team and his old one, just like he always does when the 49ers and Seahawks get together.

Q: So what do you have in store for your former team this week?
Peterson:
A lot of meet-and-greets, you know. Say hello. That's about it.

Q: You probably don't know too many guys remaining here, do you?
Peterson
I still have some guys there. My cousin's still there. You guys got Arnaz [Battle], Jonas [Jennings] and a couple of other guys. Frank [Gore]. [Jeff] Ulbrich is still there, holding on strong.

Q: Do you keep in touch with those guys in the offseason?
Peterson
Oh yeah. Definitely. Definitely.

Q: What kind of feedback do they give you? Any tips?
Peterson
About what? The team? No, they don't give me no hints on no team stuff. We just talk it up – talk about the good old times that's all we do.

Q: Is it true you're going to play two ways this weekend – wide receiver as well?
Peterson
No, no, not this week. We've got enough guys on the side to take care of that ball.

Q: How do you explain what happened in the opener? I'm sure that's not the way you guys wanted to start the season…
Peterson
Yeah, the biggest thing is there's got to be a lot more attention to detail and create more plays. That's the thing – create more opportunities for our offense to have a shorter field. We didn't get enough turnovers or create any turnovers for our offense. So that was the biggest thing for us.

Q: When you just look at what you've been able to accomplish since you've gone up there and what the team has done since you've been up there and what the 49ers have done since you've been away, you've got to be just thrilled at where you're at now…
Peterson
It's a good situation, but I always root for the guys. Even when I'm not playing against them or anything like that, I still root for them. I still want to see them do well. There's no love lost or anything like that. It's a business move. You know how it is.

Q: After the game in Seattle last year, you were quoted as saying that Alex Smith didn't look like himself during that game. Were you surprised to see him out there with his shoulder the way it was back then?
Peterson
Definitely. I thought he wasn't ready to go. I thought it was still kind of banged up. I thought he just tried to tough it out for the team and it really wasn't a smart move for the team and for himself. But I just thought he tried to do it for the team and wasn't really ready.

Q: Did you talk to him during the game to express that to him?
Peterson
No, no. During the game? No. During the game we were just trying to kill him. After the game I just told him to keep his head up and make sure to get healthy enough for the next offseason to try to get better.

Q: Are you aware that he was placed on injured reserve this week?
Peterson
Yes, I just found that out now. I think a lot of it had to do with last year – him trying to still play through it. I think it kind of piled up on him.

Q: So now you guys are playing the 49ers up there, talk about the crowd up there and how it inspires you especially in passing situations.
Peterson
It's big for us. It gives us another down of fight, actually. Most of the times, our crowd gets at least two to three offsides a game. And that right there gives us another opportunity to put our ears back and put them in a third-and-long situation so we won't really have to worry about so much of the draws and stuff like that. It won't put us in that gray area, but we just know it's just a passing down. The crowd does a good job of feeding that extra energy to us and creating some plays for ourselves.

Q: Have you had a chance to watch much of Joe Staley on film?
Peterson
No, (but) I will. For the most part, he looks a lot better than last year. Even last year, I think he was on the right side last year. Doesn't look very athletic, though. We'll see. I'll get to break him down more in the next couple days.

Q: You guys have been known the past few years for your offense. Is this going to be the season where the defense carries the team?
Peterson
It seems like whatever team I go to, whether it was the 49ers or Seattle, at one point it's an offensive-minded game. But sooner or later it turns over to the defensive side of the ball. From what I'm concerned is we have all 11 guys back on our side of the ball. And with that, we just have to make sure we take care of our responsibilities and create more problems for the 49ers offense then vice-versa, so our offense can create more plays for themselves and create more positive plays instead of going negative.

Q: Giving the 49ers sweep of the Seahawks in 2006, how much were you guys gunning for them last season?
Peterson
Well, the biggest thing was we have got to make sure to stop Frank [Gore]. Frank had two heck of a games against us. Frank had almost 500 yards almost against us in two games. So, that was an incredible feat. With that, the next year we had to make sure we put the emphasis on slowing down Frank. And it's still the same thing. Frank is the key to the whole thing. Frank is one of the top backs in the whole league. Very passionate. Very hard-nosed runner. We have got to make sure we put hats on the ball and make sure he doesn't get any explosive plays.

Q: I remember when you were here, you said you didn't want to play football for too long. You talked about how you wanted to get out while you're still young and in one piece. Now you've been around for awhile.
Peterson
Hey I know, right? Time is flying.

Q: You're a grizzled veteran…
Peterson
Yeah, I know right? I did say that in the beginning. I would say to learn a little bit from what Jerry [Rice] said, as long as your body feels well, then keep it going. So, right now, my body doesn't feel any severe pains or anything that's lagging injuries. I feel pretty good, almost as good as when I first got into the league. I'm just going to continue to do what I'm doing.

Q: So, do you think you'll be doing this for a lot longer time?
Peterson
It depends on how the body holds up. That's all I can say now. Because year nine came on me so quick, I still remember when I got drafted and you guys were asking me questions.

Q: Have you adjusted to your number yet? I know you were not too happy with it early on in your career?
Peterson
Oh yeah, I'm so glad I'm out of (No. 59) now. The biggest thing was the number doesn't really mean nothing, it's still about the player. It's an opportunity just to get my number back, but it's the same old me. It doesn't matter what number it is. I could wear No., shoot, No. 66 and it would be the same old me.

Q: So you're No. 98 now?
Peterson
Yeah.

Q: When did that change happen?
Peterson
This past season.

Q: You talked about Frank Gore earlier, have you been able to get a read on J.T. O'Sullivan?
Peterson
No. I just remember playing him when I was with the Niners and he was – I think he was with the Rams at that particular time. I don't know too much about him. Looking at a little bit of the film of him, he looks like a little bit of Bernie Kosar, almost like a Rich Gannon with the sidearm kind of throw and kind of mobile like a Rich Gannon almost. But the biggest thing is containing Frank and making sure that we put them in a passing – 3rd, long passing situation so we can let our pass rushers make their plays.

Q: I know you're old, but you played against Bernie Kosar?
Peterson
Oh no. I remember. I remember. You know, I did play against him. Bernie's been around, you know, he'll come back from time-to-time. Bernie's one of those guys who can always come back.

Q: Was there some surprise at all when you found out that J.T. O'Sullivan had beaten out Alex Smith for the No. 1 job at quarterback?
Peterson
Well I knew it was going to be kind of hard on Alex. I just felt like they gave him a couple of opportunities before the year. Things didn't go as planned the following year when the 49ers were improving. So, I knew it was going to be kind of a struggle for him. I have no idea. I'm not there anymore, so I didn't really care who was really the starter.


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