Porter Michael "Mike" Peterson (born June 17, 1976) is an American professional football player who has been a linebacker in the National Football League (NFL) for thirteen seasons. Peterson played college football for the University of Florida, was a member of a national championship team, and earned All-American honors. He was a second-round pick in the 1999 NFL Draft, and has played professionally for the Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars and Atlanta Falcons of the NFL.
1 Early years,
2 College career,
3 Professional career,
4 Charitable giving,
6 See also,
9 External links,
Peterson was born in Gainesville, Florida in 1976. He attended Santa Fe High School in nearby Alachua, Florida, where he played for the Santa Fe Raiders high school football team.
Peterson received an athletic scholarship to attend the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida, and played for coach Steve Spurrier's Florida Gators football team from 1995 to 1998. He was a member of the 1996 Gators team that finished 12-1 and won the Bowl Alliance national championship by defeating the top-ranked Florida State Seminoles 52-20 in the Sugar Bowl. Peterson started twenty-four of forty-two games in which he played, posted 249 tackles, three forced fumbles, thirteen tackles for a loss and 8.5 sacks. As a senior team captain in 1998, he was a first-team All-Southeastern Conference (SEC) selection and a first-team All-American, and was selected as the Gators' most valuable player by his teammates.
Peterson was inducted into the University of Florida Athletic Hall of Fame as a "Gator Great" in 2011.
The Indianapolis Colts selected Peterson in the second round (thirty-sixth pick overall) of the 1999 NFL Draft, and he played for the Colts for four seasons from 1999 to 2002. Peterson also played for the Jacksonville Jaguars for the six seasons from 2003 to 2008 when he and coach Jack del Rio had a verbal altercation during a team meeting.
Peterson played for the Atlanta Falcons from 2009 to 2012. On March 13, 2012, he became an unrestricted free agent, but re-signed with the Falcons on July 23, 2012. Peterson again became an unrestricted free agent in 2013.
Peterson and his wife established the Mike Peterson Foundation in 2004. The foundation was constituted in an attempt to support and benefit under-served youth and socio-economically challenged families in Peterson's hometown of Alachua, Florida and his NFL cities of Jacksonville and Atlanta. Since its inception, the Mike Peterson Foundation has already served over 15,000 youth and families through several community events and programs, most notably the Top Dog Readers Club literacy program at the Grove Park Elementary School in Atlanta.
Peterson is the older brother of former Chicago Bears and now Virginia Destroyers running back Adrian Peterson and cousin of former NFL wide receiver Freddie Solomon. He currently resides in Tampa, Florida with his wife Chantal and their sons Mike, Jr. and Gavin.