Football: One-handed wonder Peters plays on for NU

Rohan Nadkarni

While most football players play with two arms, Brian Peters plays with one arm and one weapon.

Peters, who broke his left hand in the first half of Northwestern’s game against Nebraska, wears a club-like cast on his hand during games. But the senior safety has proven that he only needs one hand to intercept the ball; Peters’ pulled off a one-handed pick in the 2010 Outback Bowl that made SportsCenter’s top ten plays of the day.

Still, having a cast creates problems for those around him, like roommate and senior wide receiver Jeremy Ebert.

“He needs help with everything he does, so its pretty annoying,” Ebert said. “I have to cook all the time because he’s lazy. He’s a pretty high maintenance guy.”

Despite the objections of Peters’ close friends, there’s no denying his success on and off the field. Peters is a captain, a member of the team’s 10-man leadership council and he was voted an All-Big Ten safety by Sporting News and Athlon Sports.

Against Illinois, Peters had a one-handed interception in the end zone as well as a forced fumble that set up the Cats for a go-ahead score. Last week against Rice, Peters notched seven tackles, solidifying his spot as NU’s active leader in tackles with 277, ahead of college football hall-of-fame linebacker and head coach Pat Fitzgerald.

“When you talk about Brian, you have to talk about his leadership,” Fitzgerald said. “He does a great job of getting the guys together, on and off the field, to build chemistry, and build attitude.”

Attitude is a big part of Peters’ unique lifestyle. The safety, who graduated last spring with a certificate in Integrated Marketing Communications, can always be seen with a smile on his face.

A recent article by NU football blog Lake The Posts highlighted Peters’ charitable side, as the safety takes time after every home game to meet a young fan of his with a debilitating disease.

The fun-loving Pickerington, Ohio native also has no problem ribbing his teammates. Whether it’s railing on Ebert for being “lovey-dovey” in his relationship, or making sure a reporter knows redshirt freshman safety Ibraheim Campbell watches Friday Night Lights by himself, Peters always carries a light-hearted attitude.

“When you wake up in the morning, you can choose to have either a good day, or a bad day, ” Peters said. “Why would you choose to be unhappy?”

With only a few games left for Peters and his senior classmates, their eyes have shifted toward the future. With his certificate in IMC, Peters can see himself making a life in advertising. Whether in front of the camera or on the creative side of ads, Peters found his passion outside of football. At the same time, Peters still hopes to add to his football legacy.

“I definitely think I can compete on the next level,” Peters said. “All I’m asking for is a shot at this point, I’ve had a pretty good career here.”

A “good career” may be an understatement. In addition to the tackles record, Peters has been an integral player in the winningest senior class in NU history. He has the team primed to advance to its fourth straight bowl game, another school record. And if the Cats win their first bowl game since 1949, there is no doubt Peters will make an impact.

However, as Peters’ days in Evanston dwindle, he still yearns for more.

“I’m single,” Peters said. “I’m looking for a nice sorority girl.”

May all opposing receivers, running backs and ladies be warned.