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Peterson was barely touched on the play

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.

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."