Peterson was barely touched on the play

Updated: October 10, 2004, 10:05 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

SAN FRANCISCO -- Julian Peterson, the 49ers' All-Pro linebacker, will miss the rest of the season after tearing his left Achilles' tendon late in the first quarter of San Francisco's win over Arizona on Sunday.

Julian Peterson
Linebacker
San Francisco 49ers
Profile
2004 SEASON STATISTICS
Tot Ast Solo FF Sack Int
25 21 4 2 3 0

Peterson hopped off the field after the Cardinals' L.J. Shelton hit him with a low block. Early in the second quarter, he was taken to the locker room on a cart.

"I'm disappointed that I went out on a play like that," Peterson said. "The guy couldn't take me down, so he kind of leg-whipped me. He hit me in the right spot and took me out at my Achilles', but I can't do nothing about that."

The two-time Pro Bowl player had a team-best 2½ sacks in his first four games this season for the Niners, who rallied for a 31-28 overtime victory. His injury is a big blow for the defense, which relies heavily on Peterson's superb play and motivational skills.

"He's the leader of our defense that makes a lot of plays for us," coach Dennis Erickson said. "It's a devastating loss for us. He's such a great person, and plays so well."

The injury also is a financial disaster for Peterson, who's playing on a one-year tender offer worth slightly more than $6 million as the 49ers' franchise player.

As instructed by his agents, Carl and Kevin Poston, Peterson held out through training camp and the 49ers' four preseason games in a futile attempt to become the NFL's highest-paid defensive player.

After such a major injury, he won't get anywhere near that much money -- or the six-year, $37.8 million deal he rejected from the Niners last summer.

"If I had to do it again, I would do the same thing," Peterson said of his holdout. "It is what it is, and I have to hope for the best next year."

San Francisco already was playing without three defensive starters: middle linebacker Derek Smith, defensive end Andre Carter and cornerback Mike Rumph. The Niners also lost defensive end Brandon Whiting, who's out for next week's road game against the New York Jets with a sprained ankle.

But the injury couldn't dampen Peterson's spirits. He was back on the sideline sporting a gray suit and crutches in the third quarter -- and he stood on the 49ers' bench, waving a towel over his head, as they drove for the tying score that sent the game into overtime.

A team captain, he also went to midfield for the overtime coin toss, but was told by the referee to get lost.

"I think that it was because I looked better than anyone out there on the field," he said with a grin. "They said that I couldn't be out there in street clothes, but I didn't consider it street clothes. I thought that I was dressed to impress."