Former Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters appeared on NFL Network on Monday and spoke for the first time since news of his trade to the Los Angeles Rams broke last Friday.
In the interview, Peters — who was dealt along with a 2018 sixth-round pick for a 2019 second-round pick and a 2018 fourth-rounder — addressed everything from his relationship with Chiefs coach Andy Reid, to how he fits in with the Rams and how he felt about the Chiefs’ trade of Alex Smith.
But first things first; his reaction to the trade, it appeared, wasn’t anger or shock.
“It’s business,” Peters said. “It’s business, and all I can do is just go handle mine. I thank the Kansas City Chiefs for everything they did for me to start it off. Now it’s on to LA.”
Peters then took a moment to praise his teammates, many of whom he grew close to during his time in Kansas City.
“I’m gonna miss playing with my teammates, for sure,” Peters said. “That’s the biggest thing about this game … because once get in the locker room, that’s family. I miss the guys, man. I’ll miss Eric (Berry). I’ll miss Justin (Houston).”
But that’s not all.
“I’ll miss coach (Andy) Reid,” Peters said. “Man, Big Red. It’s funny, man. Because I’m sitting here, and it’s been a crazy little week, you know? And I’m sitting here and I’m looking at everything like ‘Man, you’re talking about me and Big Red having issues?’ ”
That statement seemed to surprise former NFL fullback Michael Robinson, who was interviewing Peters on set. It caused Robinson to ask one more time if Peters, who was suspended by Reid for a game last December due to his behavior during and after the Chiefs’ 38-31 loss to the Jets on Dec. 3, had any issues with Reid.
“Nope,” Peters said. “Big Red can come check me like my pops can come check me and I’ll take it as ‘Thank you Big Red,’ because you know? He was looking in the best interest for me, to become a better player.”
For the first two years of Peters’ Chiefs tenure, Reid indeed appeared to have a deft touch with Peters. When Peters would grow angry on the field, Reid could often be seen calming him down briefly on the sideline, a move that often worked.
But throughout the course of the 2017 season, Peters’ on-field body language grew poorer until the suspension, likely due to frustration with the defensive scheme. And yes, the Chiefs did finish with the league’s 28th-ranked defense, so he may have had a point.
But on Monday, Peters had nothing but love for the Chiefs, who gambled on him with the 18th overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft despite being suspended midway through his final season at the University of Washington due to repeated clashes with the coaching staff.
“They already knew I had some so-called character issues off the field that happened at U-Dub (Washington),” Peters said. “We grew for these three years, it was cool, and sometimes, it’s just business. It’s just business.”
Robinson then asked Peters how he’s grown from his tumultuous 2017 season, in which he remained the Chiefs’ best cornerback by far but failed to make All-Pro for the first time in his career and drew criticism for a myriad of incidents, ranging from his refusal to stand for the national anthem to his sometimes-explicit postgame interviews and his on-field blowups — like chucking a penalty flag into the stands during the tail end of the Jets loss and walking off the field.
“I put it on my own shoulders,” Peters said. “You know, I don’t blame nobody for nothing I do. Once I threw that flag in the stands, I knew what was gonna happen. I shouldn’t have walked off.”
Peters, however, seemed to be excited about a fresh start with Rams. He mentioned several of his future teammates, including quarterback Jared Goff, running back Todd Gurley and receivers Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods, and seemed genuinely excited to play with the Rams’ defense, which finished 12th in the NFL in scoring defense and is guided by coordinator Wade Phillips.
“We’re gonna win games,” Peters said. “When you’ve got a running back like I do, when you’ve got a front seven like I do now, all you can do is just keep making plays. Give the ball back to Todd so he can do his thing, give the ball back to Jared so he could do his thing. You’ve got Woods, Kupp.”
When Robinson laughed as he noted that Peters knew all about his new squad, Peters smiled wide.
“I play Madden baby,” Peters said. “My Madden team is looking real nice right now.”
That necessarily wasn’t a swipe at his former Chiefs teammates, however. When asked whether he agreed with the trade of former starter Alex Smith to Washington — which will be consummated at the start of the new league year on March 14 — Peters said he didn’t.
“No man,” Peters said. “Alex doesn’t get enough respect. They better start putting some respect on that man’s name, because I done seen that man get thrown underneath the bus too many times, and he took it as a man and he never complained about it. He doesn’t turn over the ball and he knows how to win.”
What’s more, Peters said the defense, which blew an 18-point halftime time in a Wild Card loss to the Titans in January, deserves the blame for that.
“That was our fault for messing up the playoff win,” Peters said.
Still, Peters has already moved on, and he’s looking forward to showing the Rams — who won 11 games this year under rookie head coach Sean McVay — what kind of player they’re getting.
“I’m a Tasmanian devil because I’m gonna take the ball however I want,” Peters said. “So, just let me make play. Let me make plays and bring my energy.”
Peters said the way he plays is a nod to the former greats at his position, including Deion Sanders, Charles Woodson and Champ Bailey.
“The greats,” Peters noted. “When you start digging into the history of the cornerback position, you’ve got to be able to play football. And I don’t play football between the lines, I play football on the streets. And you’ve got to live by (it) and die by (it).”
Peters will have an opportunity to remind the Chiefs just how much he cares about football this fall. When Robinson reminded him that the Rams and Chiefs will square off in Mexico City this season, Peters smiled wide.
“I’m expecting turnovers,” Peters said, “and I’m expecting a win.”