DC got the chance last week to catch up with Derby Braves alum Marcus Peterson, who spent part of the summer of 2018 with the Los Angeles Chargers!
The Seton Hall University Alum played for the Braves during their 16-17 Campaign, amassing incredible numbers including 71 catches for 1004 yds and 15 scores in just nine games!
He went on to train with the Leicester Falcons ahead of their successful 2017 campaign, before returning to the US to play with the Iowa Barnstormers in the Indoor Football League, before signing with the Chargers in August last year.
DC got a chance to catch up with Marcus on a trip back to the UK:
DC: Hi Marcus, congratulations on your successes this past year!
To help the Britball Nation get to know you a bit better, just give us a brief outline of your journey, building a football career – from where you started, to where you are now.
I didn’t actually start until 10th grade, so that’s around 15 years old – I was always playing basketball.
Perhaps ‘cos I started playing football later than most, I was always looked at as the underdog – someone who probably wouldn’t be able to make it very far in the game, but I always took that as fuel for the fire in me – because I’m a person where if you tell me ‘you can’t go right’, then I have to go right.
So I think that is my biggest attribute when it comes to my success in American Football – I’m very relentless, and I just work hard, and if there’s something that I want? I have to go get it, I won’t stop until I get it.
I played through High School and College, but I wanted to go further. I had obviously my opportunity to play in the UK, while also furthering my education, but I still wanted something more – so I kept working at it, and that manifested to becoming part of an NFL roster last year.
DC: You’ve had experience of the game at the highest level, so we’d love you get your insights on how the British game compares!
To me, I honestly think the British game is way different when it comes to the culture of the game, the seriousness, and what it takes.
I think more of what I got from it is… here it’s more of hobby, compared to America. Obviously, it’s an American game, but even so, it’s obvious people here really love the sport, and what I thought was amazing when I came over here was how much of a love they had here as well.
The biggest difference is, of course, the level of experience people have with the sport, here compared to back home.
DC: During your time playing over here, with the Braves and the Falcons, what most impressed you about British American Football?
The knowledge of the game. Because, as I said, it’s not really a UK sport, but it was interesting to see the knowledge of the sport that the coaches had, and some of the players had, and just how able and willing people were to buy into the sport.
People come into the game, complete rookies, like, never having held a football before, but they’re hungry to learn.
DC: Looking back to your time with the Braves, what are some of the standout memories you have of your time playing British University American Football:
My favourites memories would be in the crunch times of games, and we had some really good ones that year where we were fighting for…
No no no, you know what? My favourite memory was reading online, on Double Coverage, ahead of a game against the Stirling Clansmen, that Stirling were sposed to be the big dogs, and Derby were ranked in last place…
And then when we won the game? It was a huge shocker.
I think that was probably the biggest memory of all – how much of a shock it was for those outside our team – it resonated with me, proof of what underdogs can achieve.
Shout out to Coach Noel, Coach Guy, Kyren, Troy, Tolu, Femi, Jojo, Sam – so many of them! We were all one big family that year, both offence and defence, which was something different for me – I’m used to offence playing with offence, and defence they’re like a whole ‘nother team, but here offence and defence play together as well as special teams, people playing in every phase of the game.
I really believe I made long lasting friends with like 3/4s of the players that I played with – with both the Leicester Falcons and the Derby Braves.
DC: In your opinion, what needs to change in the British game for it to take that next big step forwards?
I think collaborating with more of the experienced American players that come over can really help advance the game over here – whether that’s people that have played college football, or played in the NFL, there’s more and more of them that are getting experience of the game over here and are willing to time the time to support the UK game – take it under their wing – and to develop it, because over the years it’s becoming a bigger and bigger sport across Europe as a whole.
DC: What are you up to now?
So, as we mentioned I was playing for the Los Angeles Chargers throughout their offseason training camp. Right now I am a Free Agent, but hopefully within these next couple of weeks I’ll sign as a ‘future reserve’ with either the Chargers again, or one of the other 31 teams.
As well as football, I’ve started a motivational brand of apparel that I feel correlates with a lot of people globally – individuals who want to ignite their success, but like I used to – feel like underdogs, and that they’re overlooked.
I’m also doing a bit of modelling – so I’m building my life around three pillars: Football, Fashion and building a business around myself.
DC: And do you think we’ll be seeing some more of you in the UK and Europe?
Yes, I love it over here. I’ve been back twice already. I love Europe, I love all the culture – like I said, I’ve made life-long friends with many people here – so yes, you’ll definitely be seeing more of me!
DC: Amazing, thanks for your time Marcus and best of luck with all the exciting things you have planned for 2019!