When Arizona Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson was named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame All-Decade Team for the years 2010-2019, he said it was "truly a blessing."
He was one of three players from the franchise to be included on the list, joining wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald and outside linebacker Chandler Jones. The team was selected in voting by the Hall of Fame’s selection committee of 48 voters, of which AllCardinals site publisher Howard Balzer is a member.
"I cried when I got that because going through that season last year — obviously having the (six-game) suspension and having to deal with that — and get that news , I was like, 'What?'" Peterson told reporters via videoconference on Thursday. "I literally thought it was like a joke and I shed a tear because that's something that I always envisioned myself being: One of the greatest to ever play the game."
Peterson has played the entirety of his career in Arizona since being selected by the Cardinals fifth overall in the 2011 NFL Draft. He has a perfect 138 games started in 138 played and had not missed a game in his entire career prior to the start of last season, when he was suspended for the first six games for violating the NFL's performance-enhancing drug policy.
Throughout his illustrious, All-Pro tenure, Peterson has racked up 438 tackles (395 solo), 83 passes defended, 25 interceptions, 10 tackles for loss, four quarterback hits and 19 forced fumbles (with 12 recoveries), per Pro Football Reference. He said the recognition of his accomplishments thus far is only fueling him to be better.
"To be one of those guys out of God knows how many thousands of corners that played the game, it definitely was tears of joy," Peterson said. "And to see the names that were All-Decades — like my boy (Deion Sanders) always says, 'To get a jacket that you can't buy' — all those guys are nine times out of 10 in the Hall of Fame. So, that's obviously my end goal because that's something that I can control. I'm definitely stepping into the right direction and getting that All-Decade nod was an indication that I'm well on my way."
And for Balzer, as well as the rest of the voting committee, Peterson had a special message.
"I thank the NFL, the beat writers, the sports writers, whoever contributed to me making the All-Decade team," he said. "I thank you sincerely from the bottom of my heart for putting your man P2 (one of his nicknames) in that squad."