He'll get a chance to start in the backfield for just the second time Sunday when Chicago faces the New York Giants at Soldier Field.
With Cedric Benson finished for the season and placed on injured reserve with an ankle injury, the Bears will count on Peterson. They have to.
His only other start came in 2003 and now he'll be the No. 1 guy for the remainder of the season. It's been a long wait for the sixth-round draft pick out of Georgia Southern in 2002.
"Six years. Six years, but you know, I'm not going out trying to do anything special or anything like that," Peterson said of his opportunity. "Same role, you're just starting the game. Same role."
Not quite. He'll be in the game more and get a chance to develop a rhythm for an offense that has struggled running the ball all season.
"He's had flashes where he has carried the football and looked good doing it, but every running back wants to be the lead guy and now he's getting an opportunity to do that," Bears coach Lovie Smith said.
"Once you have success in a limited role, guys are supposed to get an opportunity to carry more of the load. He's getting his chance."
And it's not like the Bears are playing out the season, either. Chicago is 5-6 and figures it still has a shot in the mediocre NFC at making the playoffs as a wild card.
The Bears were buoyed by a 37-34 comeback win in overtime against Denver on Sunday with Peterson scoring a key TD on a 4-yard run, gaining 45 yards on 17 carries and catching passes for 41 yards. He took over after Benson was hurt in the second quarter.
Rookie Garrett Wolfe now moves into the backup role.
Grossman said the 5-foot-10, 210-pound Peterson's blocking skills go beyond taking out a blitzing linebacker or defensive back.
"He's strong and can pick up," Grossman said. "Sometimes you have to put him on a defensive tackle because a linebacker's blitzing up the gap and he's strong enough to take on some of those defensive tackles for a little bit."
Notes: T Fred Miller, who could also play a big role in protecting Grossman, missed practice Wednesday with a sore ankle. KR Devin Hester, voted the NFC Special Teams player of the week after returning a punt and a kickoff for TDs against the Broncos, also sat out with a sore foot. ... Hester also was in mourning for Sean Taylor, the Redskins safety who died from a gunshot wound Tuesday. Hester and Taylor both played at Miami.
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