While Tom Brady steals most of the shine in terms of veteran players edging out Father Time, don't sleep on the running back position. Frank Gore continues to chug along at age 37 and Adrian Peterson is now the latest to note that he has eyes to play far beyond the 14th season in the NFL he just wrapped up. While speaking to TMZ Sports, Peterson, who spent the 2020 season as a member of the Detroit Lions, admitted that not only does he want to play into the foreseeable future, but he wants to make some NFL history in the process.
"I want to live to be a 40-year-old back out there rushing for 1,500 yards and amazing people still," Peterson said.
Peterson turns 36 next month and as he marches towards playing into his 40s, the veteran back has two missions in mind. The first is to win a Super Bowl and the second is putting Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith and his all-time rushing record in the crosshairs.
"I'm going to keep playing, trying to chase the championship and, God's willing, within the process of doing that, I'm able to catch Emmitt and pass him," he said.
Currently, Peterson is fifth on the all-time rushing list with 14,820 yards. He needs just 449 to meet Barry Sanders at fourth all-time while he trails Gore by 1,180 yards and Walter Payton by 1,906. As for Smith, Peterson is 3,535 yards behind the Cowboys legend.
In 2020, Peterson rushed for 604 yards with Detroit on a 3.9 yards per carry clip. If he maintains that level of production through his 40-year-old season, the 2012 league MVP would add 3,020 yards to his name and find himself moving up the ladder on the all-time list rather significantly. However, that would come just short of Smith and place him No. 2 in NFL rushing history.
That being said, the addition of a 17th regular-season game could end up playing a role in Peterson eventually leapfrogging Smith, So long as that game is installed as it is expected to be, Peterson gains an additional five games to add to his totals that he'd otherwise be without if he plays until he's 40.
As for that first goal of winning a title, Peterson recently stated that he would be open to joining the defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers as he enters free agency this offseason.