KANSAS CITY, Mo. – New Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters didn’t mesh well with a new coaching staff at the University of Washington in 2014.
Peters reportedly had run-ins with a staff led by head coach Chris Petersen, missed team meetings and received a suspension during his college career.
While the issues ultimately led to Peters’ dismissal from the Huskies football team in November, the Chiefs are hopeful the first-round draft pick (18th overall) won’t have a repeat.
Working in the Chiefs’ favor are coaches with plenty of experience in helping shape young players at the NFL level.
Defensive back coach Emmitt Thomas, a Pro Football Hall of Famer, and defensive assistant/secondary coach Al Harris, a former Pro Bowler, are charged to ensure Peters receives guidance.
“Al spent quite a bit of time with him, as did Emmitt when he was here and at the Combine,” coach Andy Reid said. “I think he and Al are wired similarly. I had Al when he was young, and Al wanted to get up and get after you and get after you and get after you. He was relentless with that. I think he really respects Al is what I think. And Emmitt – how can you not respect Emmitt? Emmitt has a way about him with players, it’s pretty amazing.”
Peters said during a media conference call the biggest takeaway from his discussions with Harris and Thomas is both coaches want to help him grow as a professional.
And Peters is looking forward to the opportunity to learn from both, especially from Harris.
“To be able to sit down and be coached by one of the greats that I watched play ball, Al Harris, that’s going to be crazy because I saw him play when I was growing up,” Peters said. “And to have him as one of my coaches and embrace him as a mentor, it’s going to be crazy and it’s going to be fun at the same time because he’s going to help me grow into a player that I need to be and I’m trying to go win us some Super Bowls.”
Given Peters’ issues at Washington, it would be easy to question if the absence of a mentor played a role in his transgressions in college.
But he was quick to shoot that down.
“I wouldn’t say that because I went through four position coaching changes at U‐Dub and I had all of those things,” Peters said. “It was just me being immature at the time with the (head) coaching change. I was used to one thing and it was different for me, and I reacted to a situation a lot different. And now I know how to deal with those things. I grew and I grew as a man and as a football player, and I know it’s not about just me. My actions bounce back on the team and the organization.”
General manager John Dorsey said he believed Peters will be fine should an emotional situation present itself.
Dorsey also points out another group of leaders that should help Peters grow.
“What we have is a unique locker room,” Dorsey said. “In this year three, this locker room that we have here, we have some strength in this locker room, especially the defensive side of the ball. That’s what good teams do, they take those veteran leaders and they tell the young guys, ‘Ok guys, here is where the bar is set, come reach with us.’”
The veteran players surrounding Peters will be the first line of support, but Peters will have more than a fair share of coaches to oversee his progress.
And those factors allow Dorsey optimism there should be no issues in the form of what plagued Peters in college going forward.
“Then you have a Hall of Famer, an All‐Pro as your teachers,” Dorsey said. “Then you have (defensive coordinator) Bob Sutton, and on top of that you have a leader like Andy Reid, who is no nonsense, very matter of fact. No problem at all.”
The Chiefs head coach agreed.
“We look forward to bringing him into a very strong locker room here and with great coaches to support him,” Reid said.
Herbie Teope is the lead beat writer and reporter for ChiefsDigest.com. Use the contact page to reach him or find him on Twitter: