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Patrick Peterson reaches goal of practicing before training camp

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Patrick Peterson needed Tuesday’s practice.

The Arizona Cardinals Pro Bowl cornerback missed all of OTAs while recovering from ankle surgery in April but took the field on the first day of minicamp for individual drills. His goal this offseason was to eventually get on the field during minicamp so he could enter the seven-week break until training camp knowing his ankle would be ready by time he reports July 28.

“I just wanted to get out there and have the self (confidence) that I could do some of the things I’ve done before versus when I get to Glendale,” Peterson said. “I’ll definitely be more than ready to go for training camp.”

After completing Tuesday’s practice, Peterson said he feels comfortable with his progress. He wasn’t sore after going through a series of drills and said his ankle wasn’t an issue.

“It definitely was a goal (to practice during minicamp), so I can be at peace,” Peterson said. “I know I can do it, but when you have ankle surgery -- and being a corner, my job is based on cutting and explosiveness and things like that -- you want to make sure that you’re comfortable.

“The goal (was) definitely to get out there and do some individuals in minicamp, and goal accomplished.”

The last few weeks have been an introspective experience for Peterson, who took on a role as pseudo assistant coach. While it was difficult for him to remain patient on the sideline, he was able to see the game from a new perspective because he was “on the outside looking in.”

Watching receivers run their routes from the sideline helped teach Peterson how they break, where their breaking points are and how they split, he said. Instead of being on the receiving end of coaching from cornerbacks coach Kevin Ross and defensive backs coach Nick Rapone, Peterson was the one giving instructions to his younger teammates.

Peterson feels the experience of watching from the sideline will help in his off coverage.

He estimated the last three weeks were his first missed practices in the NFL and called his time on the sideline “very, very difficult.”

“The trainers, they definitely did a good job of keeping the handcuffs on me, because I definitely was on them each and every day, ‘Let’s get out there and do something,’” Peterson said. “I’m not used to this. I’m always on the field. I’m always running, I’m always practicing.

“This is definitely something new to me. At the same time, these guys want to make sure I’m healthy for the long haul and I’m healthy when it counts, and I don’t want anything to prolong (that) or hold me back.”

Peterson said not having surgery was an option, but another ankle injury this coming season would force him to miss at least one game. He’s never missed a game in five seasons. Having the peace of mind that his right ankle has been repaired was enough cause to have the surgery.

“It was better to nip it in the bud right now versus going into the season and keeping my fingers crossed that I don’t get an ankle sprain or that I’m able to come back,” Peterson said. “So, it was definitely better to get it done now versus later.”