All-Pro linebacker Julian Peterson ended his monthlong holdout Wednesday and signed a one-year contract, with the San Francisco 49ers.
Peterson, designated by the team in February as its franchise player, missed the first 28 days of training camp because of contract issues. Peterson
and his agents had been looking for a deal that would make him one of the NFL's highest-paid defenders.
"No more holding out," Peterson said. "I didn't want to miss too much time away from the team. I'm glad all this is over with and I'm coming back to
Peterson signed a $6.074 million offer tendered to him by the team to play this season. That figure represents the average of the NFL's five
highest-paid players at his position.
The fifth-year veteran has not participated in any team workouts so far this year.
"Julian basically wants to get in here and play football," coach Dennis Erickson said. "I knew he was going to be here, but it's a relief he's coming
Negotiations between 49ers management and Peterson's agents, Kevin and Carl Poston, broke off in early spring. The versatile Peterson, considered one
of the NFL's best outside linebackers, was offered a six-year, $37.8 million contract by the 49ers.
General manager Terry Donahue said that deal would make Peterson the highest-paid player in team history. That offer includes a $15.5 million signing
bonus, but Peterson's agents reportedly are looking for a deal that would include substantially more guaranteed money.
"All that stuff is out of the way right now," Peterson said. "That's just the business side of it. The whole waiting was just to see if I could get a
deal done within this period instead of having to wait until during the season. They're willing to work with me on a long-term deal, and the only way
to work on that was for me to sign the tender."
Peterson was named to his second consecutive Pro Bowl and earned first-team All-Pro honors last season when he had 144 tackles and led the 49ers with
seven sacks and three forced fumbles.
The 49ers expect even more this year in the new schemes being introduced by first-year defensive coordinator Willy Robinson.
"It's an emotional boost for this whole football team," Erickson said. "He's a guy that makes a ton of plays. In the concepts that we have put in, he
can have even more of an impact. That's why we put the franchise tag on him. He's an impact player."
Erickson said Peterson would travel with the 49ers to Minnesota on Thursday for Friday's exhibition game against the Vikings and then begin practicing
with the team Sunday.
Peterson has been working out on his own near the team's Santa Clara headquarters since the beginning of August. He said it won't take him long to
make up for lost time with his teammates.
"I think I can make it up," he said. "I've still got time to get it all together. That's why I came in kind of early, so I would be able to get into
some of the contact and get some of the rust off me. I'm going to pick my brain as much as I can to get prepared to go out there and battle."