Peterson Puts up Numbers in Benson's Absence

Chicago - If there has been one positive about the 34-day holdout of Cedric Benson, is the fact that Adrian Peterson has gotten a chance to prove he's an NFL running back.

Since he came to the Bears in the sixth round of the 2002 draft, Peterson has developed into a special teams ace in order to stay on the roster. He had a career high 28 special teams tackles in 2004,the highest individual total since the Bears began tracking that statistic in 1995.

That wasn't always the case. Coming out of Georgia Southern, Peterson was the NCAA's all-time leading rusher with 6,543 yards. However, he had just 47 carries through his first three years in the NFL.

Peterson's averaging 4.6 yards per carry in the preseason and has rushed for 199 yards on 43 attempts with three touchdowns.

A reticent man, Peterson has never been one to court media attention but if he continues to make a positive impact as he has all preseason, his valued privacy could become a thing of the past.

"I really try to stay out of the spotlight," Peterson said after Friday night's game where he scored the winning touchdown in the waning minutes of the contest. "I've always been that way. I guess I am more comfortable showing the coaches and the fans what I can do rather than telling them about it."

Peterson's score against Buffalo came after successive runs of 9,21, and 3 yards on Jeff Blake handoffs with under three minutes to go. He never doubted where he would end up on the drive.

"You know, so much of this game is desire. I knew that we were behind and I knew that I had to get in there if a rushing play was called. Jeff is new to the team so I hadn't had much of a chance to work with him, but we communicated enough to get the job done. It worked out fine in the end."

Peterson finished the night with 49 yards on ten attempts.

While Peterson has worked with all the quarterbacks on the roster, he's playing it safe when it comes to choosing one for the starting job.

"I can't really say that I do have a preference because I am mainly concentrating on what I am doing," Peterson said. "It's my job to complete the play and to make whichever quarterback is playing out there look good. My goal is to do anything possible to help this team win."

Although Peterson's mild demeanor masks a fiercely competitive streak, he not only wants the Bears to win, but he wants to be lining up with the first team while that's happening.

"That's been what I've been after all along. I want to be a starter, the go-to guy. I think that I have the ability to do that. I was very successful in college and think that I can translate what I learned to the NFL. I've been working very hard for several years to accomplish that. I've had my apprenticeship and now is my time to step up.

"The team needs dependable running backs. Thomas Jones is right in there and doing a great job. Benson isn't here yet and there's nothing at all I can do about that. I have no feelings on his holdout one way or another except to realize that this could be my time to shine. I'd like to be in on the winning play each and every game. I'm confident that I can do just that not only during the preseason but all though the year."


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