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Peterson: ‘One step closer’ to playing in NFL again

Adrian Peterson said he is pleased with a federal judge's decision Thursday to nullify a six-game suspension levied by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, calling it "one step closer to getting back on the football field and playing the sport I love....

Adrian Peterson
Adrian Peterson

Adrian Peterson said he is pleased with a federal judge’s decision Thursday to nullify a six-game suspension levied by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, calling it “one step closer to getting back on the football field and playing the sport I love.”
In a statement released Friday afternoon, the Minnesota Vikings running back called U.S. District Judge David Doty’s decision “a positive step in protecting players’ rights and preserving due process for all players.”
The NFL, however, filed an immediate notice of appeal and placed Peterson on the commissioner’s exempt list, on which he spent much of last season under de facto suspension because of a felony child-abuse indictment.
Peterson did not address that situation in his statement, nor did he mention the Vikings, with whom he is under contract for next season at a price of $12.75 million.
“As I prepare for my return to football, I am still focused on my family and continue to work to become a better father every day,” Peterson said.
Peterson’s agent, Ben Dogra, also released a statement. He also did not mention the Vikings, saying, “Any NFL team will be fortunate to have Adrian on its roster as he will consistently serve as a strong leader and impactful performer.”
On Nov. 4, Peterson pleaded no contest to a reduced charge of reckless assault and two weeks later was suspended for six games by Goodell, who set April 15 as the earliest date he could apply for reinstatement.
Judge Doty’s decision nullified that decision by vacating Peterson’s official arbitration with the NFL, which favored the league. But the NFL now will ask a three-judge panel to review Doty’s decision - a process that could extend the case into June. The NFL’s business year starts with free agency on March 10.
Although Peterson mentioned neither the Vikings nor Minnesota, he did say, “I want to express my gratitude for all of the support I have received from the fans.”
He also thanked his agents and NFL Players Association lawyer Jeffrey Kessel, who presented his case to Doty.
Peterson played just one game last season, although the exempt list allowed him to draw 14 of 17 game checks.
Although back on the exempt list, Peterson is now allowed to resume contact with anyone in the Vikings organization, meaning the team could begin negotiating a new deal or trade him after March 10.
Peterson’s trouble came after a September arrest related to an incident in which he whipped his 4-year-old son with a wooden switch. He has been working in Hennepin County to retain joint custody, submitting to psychological treatment and attending parenting classes.
Peterson’s father, Nelson Peterson, told the Pioneer Press this week that his son has not asked for a trade and there have been no discussions about a pay cut. If the Vikings were to trade Peterson, Nelson Peterson said he has heard “rumors” of Arizona, Dallas and Indianapolis as possible landing spots.

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