McCarthy: 'Great respect’ for Adrian Peterson

Ryan Wood
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PHOENIX – Coach Mike McCarthy isn’t known for making blunt promises, but he delivered one Wednesday morning over breakfast at the NFL meetings.

Green Bay Packers free safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (21) squares up to try and tackle Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson (28) at Lambeau Field on Jan. 3, 2016.

“I don’t know when they’re going to get there,” McCarthy said, “but we’re going to have more running backs before May. I can promise you that.”

While the draft remains the most likely avenue, McCarthy’s promise was part of an answer about the Green Bay Packers’ potential interest in Adrian Peterson.

McCarthy was noncommittal on whether the Packers would pursue Peterson, the former Minnesota Vikings running back who’s available as a free agent for the first time in his Hall of Fame career. But he didn’t rule it out.

“We’re looking at all players,” McCarthy said. “Adrian Peterson obviously is someone we have great respect for, obviously playing him the number of times we have. We’re trying to improve our offense all the time. So as far as what’s going on, we don’t need to discuss those things publicly.

“But I think it’s obvious, if you look at our depth chart, I mean we have two running backs on our depth chart – two healthy running backs. So we’re going to have more running backs.”

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Asked whether Peterson would be a good fit with the Packers, McCarthy said, "I think the world of Adrian. I think he’s obviously a great player, a Hall of Fame player. I got a chance to be around him not only competing against him twice a year, but at the Pro Bowls. He’s a class act, and we’ll just see how it shakes out."

The Packers are left with a thin running back depth chart after releasing 31-year-old James Starks and watching 2013 second-round pick Eddie Lacy sign with the Seattle Seahawks.

Lacy’s time in Green Bay started with much promise. He was a Pro Bowler as a rookie, rushed for more than 1,100 yards in each of his first two years. Then weight and conditioning issues derailed his 2015 season, and a renewed commitment off the field ended with ankle surgery that placed him on injured reserve five games into last season.

McCarthy suggested part of Lacy’s reason for going to Seattle was the chance at a fresh start.

“I think Eddie played excellent football for us,” McCarthy said. “I think his injury here is something he’s going to have to work through and get back on. As far as his decision goes to Seattle, I talked to him just a little while back here, I get what he’s trying to do. It’s a new start for him. I just wish him as much personal success as he can have.

“Eddie is a good guy, he’s a good teammate, and obviously an excellent player. He has a new opportunity that I hope he makes the best of it.”

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