It might be time to grab some popcorn as an already weird story has taken an abrupt turn toward the downright bizarre.
In response to an ESPN.com report in which a former Texas A&M assistant claimed Willie Lyles — click HERE if you don’t know who Lyles is by now — requested $80,000 in exchange for Patrick Peterson‘s signature on an Aggies Letter of Intent back in 2007, the now-former All-American LSU cornerback issued a vehement denial through his old school. In part, Peterson stated that he “never had any type of relationship with Willie Lyles and… [h]e had no involvement with my recruiting process.”
Based on a couple of developments, Peterson might have some esplainin’ to do. Or, at least, consider sitting this next one out, stop talking for a while.
In a pay-per-view article that appeared on Rivals.com‘s A&M website back in early August of 2007, Peterson — then called Patrick Johnson — told the author of the piece that his “dad and I were in Houston visiting one of his friends and he suggested that we go look at A&M.” And who was that friend of his father? Brian Perroni, the writer who spoke to Peterson back in 2007, tweeted the answer earlier today:
As if that little tidbit weren’t head-scratching enough, there’s another data point that’s surfaced that calls into question the veracity of Peterson’s very public denial. And why he would feel the need to seemingly stretch the truth. Or develop a bad case of amnesia at a most inopportune time.
As Peterson was making the private rounds today issuing denials regarding his connection to Lyles, he also reportedly denied taking a visit — official or otherwise — to A&M.
..Thursday, 104.5 ESPN reporter Jordy Culotta received a text message from Peterson after offering a forum to discuss the allegations. Peterson’s text response read, “No I’m good. Cause that’s all it is yu know, but thanks any way.” Shortly after receiving the text, Culotta spoke to Peterson who said the report was, “All baloney.”
In fact, Peterson told Culotta twice that he never even visit[ed] the school in College Station, Texas. That would seem to contradict an ESPN report in which Kelly Naqi cites Peterson’s father, Patrick Peterson Sr. as describing his son’s visit to A&M as “a good trip.”
“Why would I jeopardize my future over going to Texas A&M and $80,000 when I knew that my future was playing football,” Peterson told Culotta.
There’s just one problem with Peterson’s denial of ever having even visited College Station, and we’ll refer back to the Rivals.com article for the salient point.
“I visited Texas A&M the other day,” the then-Patrick Johnson told the website, again back in 2007 before he had signed with LSU in February of 2008.
“Everything there was great. The facilities were the best I had seen of anywhere that I’ve been this summer. But I really liked their academic program the best. They really stressed that a lot and let me know that I was there to get my degree first. That’s important to me.”
So, what does all of this mean? We’re not quite certain just yet, other than Peterson appears to be tripping over his own junk and making the situation into a much bigger deal than it was when the day began.
UPDATED APRIL 1 @ 4:27 p.m. ET: We received an email a short time ago from Jordy Culotta regarding a clarification Peterson made in a follow-up text message conversation. Here’s the email, sans commentary from us.
Good afternoon John –
Wanted to clarify your story about Peterson denial . Peterson told me over the phone he never visited A&M officially, but sent a text message over after our conversation confirming he unofficially visited the first weekend of August in 2007.