Adrian Peterson is back for another NFL season, his 13th, and the seemingly ageless wonder will have to go without a fantastic teammate.
It should come as no surprise. After all, Peterson played all of 2019 without Trent Williams, too. But Peterson said Thursday he still held out hope Williams would return, even after the tackle's dispute with management became public and grew increasingly toxic, leading to Williams' long overdue trade to San Francisco in April during the 2020 draft.
"I didn't really like the trade, obviously," Peterson said, per an official team transcript. "I feel like Trent is the best offensive lineman in the game. I'm able to see him firsthand and what he's able to do. I was hoping there would be some good ending to him and what the Redskins were dealing with but, I'm happy for him. I've been on Trent since he was in high school and as long as he's happy, that's all that matters."
There was not a good ending, at least not from Peterson's perspective. The seven-time Pro Bowl tackle has moved west, and the 35-year-old running back will have to move forward without his reliable efforts. It worked out all right in 2019, in which Peterson rushed 211 times for 898 yards and five touchdowns while Williams spent the entire campaign at home.
Things should be fine in Washington again in 2020, though Peterson might not see the same workload. The veteran is now part of a running back room filled with potential in Derrius Guice, rookie Antonio Gibson, former Stanford star Bryce Love, offseason addition Peyton Barber, Josh Ferguson and J.D. McKissic. The Redskins, like others who have suffered plenty of backfield injuries in recent years, are attacking the season with numbers, which might limit Peterson's numbers.
That doesn't matter to him, Peterson said Thursday. He just wants to contribute and will give it his full effort, even if such efforts include helping the next group of running backs eventually take his place.
"I'm not that guy that's going to withhold something, to get myself an edge," Peterson said.
Without a friend protecting one edge, Peterson will attempt to help the Redskins gain one on their opponents -- even if it means less of his own involvement.