Yesterday it was the comeback victory against the Cleveland Browns on the road.
Today? Mr. 54 himself — Mike Peterson.
“Welcome to Duval, prepare to be hit.”
Peterson’s career started with the Indianapolis Colts, when he was selected in the second round of the 1999 NFL Draft. He played all but seven games in his four-year career with the Colts, establishing himself as a solid all-around linebacker who could make the inside tackle or defend the pass equally as well.
He was then signed by the Jaguars in 2003 and established himself as the best middle linebacker this franchise has ever known. He was tough, he was physical, he was fast, and he was his own man.
Peterson was the one responsible for the tagline, “Welcome to Duval, prepare to be hit” after using it as his introduction during a 2006 Monday Night Football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers and he didn’t back down to head coach Jack Del Rio after he was demoted following an ugly loss to the Cincinnati Bengals where Peterson flexed his muscles after a sack in the third quarter while the team was still down 21-3.
Over his six-year career with the team he registered 543 tackles (32 of which for a loss), 20 passes defended, five fumbles forced, eight interceptions, and one touchdown.
But it was his 2005 season where he was truly magnificent — 131 tackles (10 for a loss), three interceptions, six passes defended, six sacks, two forced fumbles, one touchdown, and a second team All-Pro selection. It is the best single season performance of any middle linebacker in franchise history and you could make the argument he was the best player on the team that year. Where Paul Posluszny was a stalwart in the middle behind the defensive line for many years, Peterson was a man possessed all over the field — able to chase down running backs in the flat, close on receivers before the first down marker, and sack quarterbacks behind the line.
The Jaguars (criminally) underrated him as just the 19th best player in franchise history — in my mind he’s a top-10 talent — but they compiled a superb highlight reel of him here.
Send us your favorite moments and we’ll dig into each one until the Jaguars kick off on September 8th — including whatever video, audio, or stories we can find.