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Marcus Peters' Emotional Journey Ends With a Victory Over Raiders

Peters returned to his hometown and helped the Chiefs win their sixth straight

He was overcome with so much emotion that he couldn't stop his body from shaking.

It was a definitive example of life manifesting itself through the guise of football, and it was real.

Marcus Peters grew up less than 8 miles from the stadium and locker room he now found himself standing in as he tried to put into words what the last several hours meant to him.


The Kansas City Chiefs (7-5) had just beaten the Oakland Raiders (5-7) by a score of 34-20 to win their sixth straight game.

From the way his entire body was shaking and from the words coming out of his mouth, it wasn't hard to tell that this was more than just a football game to him.

"It was hard," Peters explained of playing in front of his hometown community. "I can't lie. It was really hard. My nerves were jumping early in the game. My emotions were just everywhere. Coach and the other leaders on the team brought me back.

"I made some silly mistakes, but they reeled me in."

Peters is already a pretty passionate player, wearing his heart on his sleeve on every play. But when tasked with playing in front of a community that's literally developed him into the person he is today, Peters' heart could barely take it.


He answered a few more questions from Kendall Gammon, the current sideline reporter for the Chiefs Fox Football Radio Network and himself a 15-year NFL veteran, who was in there for their postgame show.

Peters' hands, arms, his neck and head—still shaking.

There might not be a person out there who loves their hometown as much as Peters.

From the first moment he stepped off the bus on Sunday at Stadium in Oakland, California, Peters was reminded of where he came from.

The stadium, the colors, the people—it was all too familiar.

"I saw my cousin when I walked through the door when we first got off the bus," Peters explained, "then I saw one of my high school friends. I walked out of the tunnel and saw my uncle."

Everywhere he went, Peters was reminded.

After pregame warmups a couple of hours before the game, Peters was greeted by one of the Raiders security guards, Lloyd Johnson.


Peters knows Johnson better as one of his former assistant coaches back at McClymonds High School.

They shared a few moments on the sideline before Peters had to head back to the locker room.

After the Chiefs came back on the field as a team and finished pregame warmups, Johnson made sure to grab Peters as the team jogged back towards the tunnel so that he could see his dad, Michael, before he went to the locker room with his teammates a final time before official introductions and kickoff.

Johnson actually ran into the group of Chiefs players a little bit to get Peters attention, who knew exactly what Johnson was doing as he directed him towards his father.

The two had a quick embrace before Peters would head to the locker room.

Michael Peters was on the sideline as part of a pregame recognition ceremony for the Raiders as one of his players back at McClymonds High School, where he's now the head coach, was being recognized for academic excellence.

Again, Peters was raised in a family that has made it their its life work to improve the West Oakland community that their son was raised.

Johnson is now the head coach at Castlemont, a rival of Peters' alma mater.

"I'm so proud to see Marcus [Peters] out here, man," Johnson said. "Just glad to see him out with his red jersey on. It means so much to Oakland, California, especially to McClymonds High School. That shows the schools and kids in the inner city, even the small schools, if you stick with your mind in the classroom, you can get to the NFL.

"He's showing you right now that you can do it."


Johnson has known Peters since he was just a 9 or 10-year-old kid, and he couldn't say enough about what it meant to him that Peters has made it to where he's at right now.

Not just because of what it meant for Peters as an individual person, but for the model he can set for the next wave of students coming from that community, many of whom were at the game on Sunday.

"That's what Oakland is all about," Peters said. "When we get opportunities to do a good deed for this city and for this community, in general, we come out and we support.

"We get so much negativity for my hometown, but for me to be placed in the spotlight and to play at the Coliseum—I had my high school football team up here, just to come back and to see it, that's real."

The product Peters and the Chiefs defense put on the field was real too.

Peters was a part of a Chiefs defense that intercepted Raiders second-year standout quarterback Derek Carr three times in the fourth quarter.

Coming into the game, Carr had only been intercepted 6 times all season.

It was Peters' interception midway through the fourth quarter in a tie game that put the Chiefs in a position to take their first lead of the game.

He took the Carr pass back 58 yards to the 13-yard line of the Raiders, setting up the Chiefs go-ahead 13-yard touchdown pass from Alex Smith to Jeremy Maclin just two plays later.

Just like that, the Chiefs had a 26-20 lead after the Raiders were driving to try and take the lead late in the game. It happened that quickly.

What made this play even more impressive is that Peters hadn't had a perfect game by any means leading up to that point; he had given up some plays and was even called for a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty earlier in the game.

"He's a young guy, but he can't get too emotional," Chiefs coach Andy Reid said after the game. "He's going up against a seasoned veteran there in Michael Crabtree. He came after him a little bit early, but [Peters] came back and made some plays. That's what he does. 

"He's a smart kid and he will figure it out—and that's what we do, we keep teaching him."

One of Peters' teammates and mentors, veteran cornerback Sean Smith, said it's important for Peters to channel his passion into leading his teammates.

"I try to tell him all the time, people feed off his energy," Smith explained. "He's a very passionate player, he goes out there and has a fiery attitude.

"I told him as long he stays focused, doesn't lose composure, and goes out there and make plays, you're going to help this defense out a lot."


Peters helped the defense out on Sunday because when they needed him to step up and make some plays—he came through.

Peters had come through for a team that was a bitter rival of he and his family's childhood team.

"My mom and my family came in here with all that red," Peters said after the game. "We grew up as Raiders fans. We loved the silver and black, but now we love this red and gold."

Peters had a special delivery for the ball he intercepted.

"That was huge for me, to be able to give my mom the ball." 

When asked how many people he thought may have been there to watch him play, Peters couldn't tell you a number, only a feeling.

"I can't even put a number on it," he said. "I brought the whole town. The whole city of Oakland came out and I appreciate the love and support I get from here.

"I can't stop shaking—that's how much love I felt."

Photos from the Chiefs Week 13 matchup against the Raiders

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