EX-OKLAHOMA RUNNING BACK
On this week's NFL combine
I expect them to grill me and work me like I'm nobody, throw everything they can at me and see if I'll stand up to the pressure. People expect big things. They want to see if I'm man enough after all the hype. Everyone's going to be watching and critiquing every little detail, every slipup, every cut I make. The preparation has been intense. The training [at a facility in Arizona] has been almost like boot camp.
On skipping his senior season to enter the NFL draft
I wasn't thinking about it at the start of the season. When I did start thinking, Should I stay or should I go? it changed every day. One day my mind was made up to leave, and then I'd be on campus having a good time and taking in college life, or in a game hearing the roar of the crowd at OU, and it would swing the other way. But when I got hurt in October, I started thinking, What if I stay and I get really hurt next year and never make it to the NFL? That thought kept popping into my head.
On mom Bonita's breaking her ankle the day he broke his collarbone against Iowa State
Crazy. My family was there for the game. Later I was in the house resting and dealing with my collarbone while my family was playing basketball. Then I see some kids running back to the apartment, screaming, "Your mom fell. She's hurt. She's lying on the ground." I hopped up and ran out to check on her. She couldn't put pressure on her ankle—she broke it in two places. I told her that was a day I will remember the rest of my life.
On dad Nelson's coming to see him play after being incarcerated for seven years for money laundering
It was special. Even though he was away so long, he was with me in spirit. He taught me the fundamentals of the game when I was little, so a lot of what I do out there is because of him. But our relationship is about more than football. He's my father, and he never stopped being that. Even though he made mistakes, I love him and I am proud of how he's turning his life around.
On his nickname, AD, All Day
I've been hearing that since I was two. I ran around all the time. Never wanted to stop. Never wanted to sleep. I just kept going all day. My dad and mom gave me the nickname. When I started playing ball, my coaches said the same thing about how I played, that I could go all day.
On the team he'd like to play for
I wouldn't mind the Texans. Being able to go back to my home state [he's from Palestine, Texas] and having my family there would be nice. Also, the Raiders. I rooted for them growing up. Obviously Dallas would be on the list, but I am pretty sure they won't have a high enough pick to get me.
On his two-year-old girl, Adeja
I don't think she fully understands what I do. But she loves to watch me on TV. She knows I run a lot. Everyone at home says that when I'm on TV, she goes nuts and starts screaming, "Daddy, Daddy, Daddy. That's my daddy!"
On his personality
Everyone thinks I'm quiet and shy. But once I feel comfortable, I let loose, act silly. I'm always dancing, cracking jokes, trying to make people laugh. I think I am a funny, funny guy.
PETERSON RAN FOR 4,045 YARDS IN THREE YEARS AT OKLAHOMA. HE'S THE TOP-RATED RB IN THE DRAFT.
PHOTOGRAPH BY JASON WISE
ROBERT BECK (PETERSON ACTION)