Because the NFL is an offense-focused league now more than it has ever been before, defensive players don’t always get the credit they deserve when they play well, with the exceptions of the top guys on that side of the ball like Aaron Donald or Joey Bosa.
One defensive star who doesn’t get the recognition he deserves is Marcus Peters, who tends to get lost in the spotlight of Ravens teammate Lamar Jackson. But not getting a lot of media attention may be a good thing for Peters, who has dealt with some controversy in his career.
Marcus Peters’ NFL career
The Chiefs took Peters with the 18th overall pick in the 2015 NFL draft, and they traded him to the Rams prior to the 2018 season. After almost a season and a half with the Rams, they sent him to the Ravens in a trade in October 2019.
Normally when a player gets traded multiple times in a short period of time like that, it’s because he’s underperforming — but that’s not the case with Peters.
In his six seasons in the league, the cornerback has recorded 31 interceptions in 91 games, returning them for 814 yards and six touchdowns. He has forced nine fumbles and recovered eight fumbles, bringing one of them into the end zone.
Peters has also accounted for 299 tackles. He is ranked fourth among active players in interceptions and defensive touchdowns, and he is the active leader in interception return yardage.
A history of controversy
Because his play on the field isn’t the reason for his trades, it is because of his — at times — less-than-stellar behavior between plays. ESPN recently recapped some of Marcus Peters’ controversial actions on the gridiron.
The season before the Chiefs traded him, Peters threw a penalty flag — which wasn’t even his penalty — into the stands and reportedly argued with a coach; the team suspended him for a game for his actions.
He has also been accused of spitting on an opposing player. After the Ravens beat the Browns late in the season, Peters reportedly spit at the Browns’ Jarvis Landry when he was walking away.
Peters issued a statement denying that happened, and adding that anyone who believes he spit at an opponent “does not know me — plain and simple.”
The most recent piece of controversy came in the Ravens’ playoff win over the Titans — and it’s one that he can’t deny because it happened in the middle of the field at Nissan Stadium.
Peters intercepted Ryan Tannehill to seal the victory for Baltimore, he led a group of his fellow defenders to the Titans’ logo at midfield, stomping on it. Peters then opened up his arms and yelled toward the Tennessee sideline.
What do these incidents say about Marcus Peters?
Some people consider these incidents to be shows of disrespect by Peters, while others think it shows that he is a fiery, competitive player who gets into the game as much as anyone. His head coach, John Harbaugh, belongs to that latter group.
When discussing Peters, Harbaugh says “I like him and I love him. He’s genuine. He’s as authentic as it gets.” He continues, saying he appreciates that about the quarterback and says that Peters has “a heart of gold.”
Harbaugh acknowledges that the first-round pick is “an emotional guy” who “really cares” and “works to be the best he can be.” The Ravens’ front office seems to agree with the coach.
Not only did the team trade for Peters, but they also gave him a three-year, $42 million extension at the end of the 2019 season, keeping him under their control through at least the upcoming season and possibly the following season, if he doesn’t opt-out.
All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference