New Orleans Saints' Adrian Peterson on Sean Payton stare: 'I could have said I love you'

By Alex Butler  |  Updated Sept. 12, 2017 at 10:43 AM
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Sept. 12 (UPI) -- Future Hall of Famer Adrian Peterson was caught giving the death stare to New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton on Monday Night Football.

But Peterson maintains that he "respects" his coach.

Peterson was making his Saints debut and having a homecoming simultaneously in the 29-19 loss to the Minnesota Vikings. But he didn't walk away with a huge performance against his former team. Peterson had 18 yards on six carries. He was targeted once in the passing game. Although he earned a ceremonial start, Mark Ingram and rookie Alvin Kamara led the Saints running backs with 11 touches.

Peterson's exchange occurred in the first half. He walked the sideline behind Payton before shouting at the coach. When Payton turned around, Peterson returned an intense stare.

The first time he was asked about the exchange, Peterson was tight-lipped.

"I'm going to keep that confidential," he told reporters. Peterson said he wasn't upset but "just communicating" with the coach.

He later added that he wanted to be in the game for every snap, due to his competitive nature.

"But I don't make those calls," he told reporters, according to ESPN. "I'm there being pulled back, just waiting for my number to be called. I've got confidence in Mark and Alvin to be able to make things happen in the red zone as well. I've got confidence in myself."

Peterson said he told Payton he wanted the team to run "inside zone."

"One thing I said to him was, 'Hey, let's run this inside zone.' And we came out, and we ran that," Peterson told reporters.

"I could have said 'I love you!'"

After a social media stir swirled, Peterson offered more on the situation with a tweet.

"Let's be clear...I said we need to run the ball up their Donkey," Peterson tweeted. "Nothing more. I'm passionate but respect my coach at the same time."

Payton said he didn't even remember the exchange taking place.

"We weren't in any heated exchange," Payton told reporters in his postgame comments. "No. Listen, I'd tell you if we were in a heated exchange, so why don't you ask him? He was into it, we were all into it, there was none that I can recall. And I'm being honest."

Kamara played 31 snaps, while Ingram played 26 snaps and Peterson lined up for nine snaps.

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