by Fitzgerald Cecilio
Despite the death of his two-year-old son, Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson confirmed that he will play against the Carolina Panthers Sunday as planned.
"Football is something I will always fall back on," Peterson said. "It gets me through tough times. Just being around the guys in here, that's what I need in my life, guys supporting me."
"Things that I go through, I've said a thousand times, it helps me play this game to a different level. I'm able to kind of release a lot of my stress through this sport, so that's what I plan on doing," he added.
Peterson's son died after he was allegedly beaten by his mother's new boyfriend Friday. Joseph Patterson, 27, was charged with aggravated battery and aggravated assault but he will face additional cases with the child's death.
Peterson thanked his family, fans and even fans of other NFL teams for their support. "The NFL is a fraternity of brothers and I am thankful for the tweets, phone calls and text messages from my fellow players," he said.
Dozens of current and former professional athletes also expressed support for Peterson on Twitter.
"Sick for my friend. Strong guy but this one will bring the strongest down," tweeted Miami Heat superstar LeBron James.
This season, Peterson is second in the NFL with 421 yards rushing and first in the league with five touchdowns. Last year, he bounced back from reconstructive knee surgery and rushed for 2,097 yards, bagging the league MVP award.
Vikings rusher Adrian Peterson's two-year-old son dies
Sioux Falls, SD
Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson suffered a personal tragedy after his two-year-old son died Friday due to injuries from aggravated assault.
According to Sioux Falls police spokesman Sam Clemens, the attacker, Joseph Robert Patterson was already charged with aggravated assault and aggravated battery of an infant. Patterson was in a relationship with the child's mother at the time.
Due to the boy's death, charges against Patterson will be reviewed and additional changes might be added. Patterson is being held in the Minnehaha County Jail on $750,000 cash bond.
"Thank you to my family, my fans and fans of other teams for their support," Peterson wrote on Twitter. "The NFL is a fraternity of brothers and I am thankful for the tweets, phone calls and text messages from my fellow players. God Bless everyone and thank u so much."
Peterson missed practice Thursday, but the running back returned to the Minnesota Vikings' facility Friday. He indicated to the media that he planned to play in Sunday's game.