EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Adrian Peterson wowed the NFL, its fans and even its players in his return from torn knee ligaments to win the MVP and post the second-highest, single-season rushing total in league history less than a year from major knee surgery.
At least one opponent believed it was more than just Peterson’s amazing recuperative powers and intense work ethic that helped him return as strong as ever.
Peterson revealed recently in an interview with CBSSports.com that one Detroit Lions player accused him of using performance-enhancing drugs to come back from his gruesome knee injury.
The unnamed Detroit linebacker said, “Whatever you were juicing on, let me know. I need it,” Peterson told CBS’ Pete Prisco.
Inevitably as quick and as strong as Peterson returned, the questions about PEDs would come up. But Peterson appealed to a higher power to recover.
Peterson told the Lions’ player, “Man, it’s a lot of prayer. The juice of God.”
In that game against Detroit, the first meeting between the two teams according to Peterson, the MVP running back had 102 yards rushing. In the fourth week of the season, it was his first 100-yard effort since he tore the anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments in his left knee at Washington on Dec. 24, 2011.
Peterson had his surgery performed by Dr. James Andrews a week later and started in on the rehab that would allow him to return to the game just over eight months later. Peterson also had one other aid in his return.
“I have good genes,” Peterson told Prisco, an aspect of his recovery he’s credited before.
While the first game against Detroit was his first 100-yard game of the season, Peterson went on an historic run in the season’s second half when he had eight straight games over 100 yards rushing, including two 200-plus games. He went over 100 yards rushing in nine of the season’s final 10 games, only falling short when he had 86 yards against the Houston Texans and was taken out early in a 23-6 win.
Of course, Peterson later revealed that he was dealing with a sports hernia injury while playing those last few games and was bothered most against Houston.
The second meeting against Detroit and the unnamed linebacker, Peterson had 27 carries for 171 yards and a touchdown.
Peterson wasn’t bothered by the juicing comment. He takes such assertions almost as praise for his ability to return.
“To be honest with you, it makes me feel good when people say little stuff like that, and I’m sure it happens all the time,” Peterson said. “I guess I am performing that well that people think I’m juicing, that I am taking something. That really shows me how much God has blessed me to be able to come back and play the way I played. To me, it’s a compliment (the PED talk). I’ve always been an honest person. I never cheated the system. I am big on taking advantage of my natural abilities and applying work ethic to it to be able to climb the highest level. People make that decision to do that (PEDS), but I’m not that individual. I feel like I’d be cheating myself. And things I’ve accomplished would be void. That’s not what I am about.”