When the thing you love is out of reach, it's easy to get antsy in pursuit of it. Marcus Peters, however, knows that sometimes to get what you want, you have to wait.
It happened in 10th grade. When Peters was "doing some things I wasn't supposed to be doing," his mom told him he couldn't play football anymore. She knew how to straighten out her son.
So Peters had to sit out a full year of ball in Oakland, Ca., even though his father was his (legendary) coach at McClymonds High School. That had to hurt, but Peters obeyed. He was allowed back for his junior year, he got rolling, and so did the scholarships.
"What momma says goes," Peters said Wednesday.
After suffering a season-ending knee injury last year just days before the Ravens' season opener in Las Vegas, Peters was forced to be patient again. It was the first major injury he suffered in his life and it took away what he enjoys doing most – playing football.
"It feels good to get back on the field. I missed it," Peters said. "Football is just a game. It's something that I love to do, but I just couldn't do it last year.
"That's the game. You've got to wait until your body allows for you to get back out there and do what you're supposed to do – do what you can do. So, patience is the game."
Peters said the toughest part of the injury was not being able to play with his teammates. But even though he couldn't be on the field with them, he didn't disappear. Peters still sat in on meetings during the week and still went to almost every home game.
He said it was "very important" to him to still be a mentor to the younger players, just like veterans such as Eric Berry and others in Kansas City were for him at the start of his career. It was great still having Peters around off the field, but his absence on the field was absolutely felt.
"The thing about Marcus is one thing that he does is bring a lot of energy to all of the guys. He breathes confidence into the guys," Pass Game Coordinator/Secondary Coach Chris Hewitt said. "He told me a couple of weeks ago, 'I've always gotten an A in football.' So, he brings a high IQ to our football team, and just the whole communication and everything that goes on back there – it's huge having Marcus back."
Behind the scenes, Peters went to work, attacking rehab for the first time in his career. Head Coach John Harbaugh he could notice a difference in Peters when he returned for OTAs and minicamp.
"I'll tell you, the guy has been living in the weight room, he's been living in the training room, he's been living out here running all the way through, even through training camp when he wasn't practicing," Harbaugh said. "Then, he kind of pushed his way out to practice and has looked good at practice. So, he's done a great job."
While Peters has been putting in the work, he's also staying patient. Over the offseason, he said in an interview that he thought he'd be 100 percent by the time training camp started. But Peters eased his way back onto the field, joining practice for the first time on Aug. 15.
Even now, with the regular-season opener in New York 10 days away, Peters isn't rushing.
"I feel like I'm doing what I need to do is necessary to get me back on the field. It's been a process that myself and this training staff and the coaching staff have come up with, and we're going to stick to it until I can get back out there," Peters said.
"Whenever my body tells me [I'm] ready to go, we're going to go."
The Ravens are banking on having their ball-hawking cornerback return to form. Only four teams had fewer interceptions than Baltimore's nine last season. The Ravens pride themselves on being a disruptive defense that feasts on turnovers and Peters, a player with a league-high 31 interceptions since he entered the NFL in 2015, will make a huge difference.
The return of Peters and addition of ball-hawking safeties Marcus Williams and Kyle Hamilton will make quarterbacks much more wary of the Ravens secondary.
"We have a lot of playmakers on this defense that can turn the ball over," Hewitt said. "I expect those guys to turn the ball over this year and be one of those highly-ranked teams turning the ball over this year. We practice it, we preach it, and we have the guys that can do it. So, I expect it."