Rodney Peete (born March 16, 1966) is a former American football quarterback from the University of Southern California who played in the National Football League for 16 years. He retired in 2004 and is now in broadcasting.
Peete was born in Mesa, Arizona. He attended Sahuaro High School in Tucson, Arizona, as a freshman, sophomore, and junior, and went to Shawnee Mission South High School in Overland Park, Kansas for his senior year. He was a three-year letterman in football, basketball, and baseball. In football, he was named the Arizona High School Player of the Year as a junior. Peete was drafted in the 30th round (722nd overall) by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 1984 Major League Baseball Draft. He did not sign and elected to attend college at the University of Southern California.
Peete was the first player ever from USC to win the Johnny Unitas Award as the nation's best senior quarterback. (He has since been joined by Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart). In that senior year, he also finished second to Barry Sanders in the voting for the Heisman Trophy. His USC teams would win both head-to-head matchups in the UCLA-USC rivalry against Troy Aikman's UCLA teams. The 1988 UCLA-USC game was notable in that Peete was stricken with measles the week before the game and had been to the hospital. He led USC to the 1988 and 1989 Rose Bowl games.
Peete was also a star third baseman on USC's baseball team. He was named to the all-Pac-10 team. He was drafted three different times while at USC. In the 1988 MLB Draft by the Oakland Athletics in the 14th round (359th overall), the 1989 MLB Draft by the Atletics again in the 13th round (348th overall) and the 1990 MLB Draft by the Detroit Tigers in the 28th round (742nd overall).
Peete did not achieve stardom in his professional career in the NFL, but played well enough to sustain his place in the league for 16 seasons, primarily as a backup. Selected by the Detroit Lions as the 141st pick in the 6th round of the 1989 NFL Draft, Peete was scheduled to start the season opener but sprained his knee in an exhibition game against the Los Angeles Rams, missing the first few games of the season. He would have been the first rookie quarterback to start for the Lions since 1968, when Greg Landry started.
His career was marked by injury. In his first five NFL seasons with the Lions, he would split time with Bob Gagliano, Erik Kramer, and former Heisman Trophy winner Andre Ware. After spending time with the Dallas Cowboys, Washington Redskins, Philadelphia Eagles, and Oakland Raiders, Peete's career appeared to be over until he became the starter for the Carolina Panthers in 2002, where he led the Panthers to an 7-9 record, an improvement over 1-15 the year before.
After a weak showing in the first half of 2003 season opening game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, head coach John Fox replaced him in the third quarter with Jake Delhomme, who then led the Panthers to a comeback victory. Delhomme subsequently replaced Peete as the Panthers' starting quarterback, leading the team to an 11-5 record that ultimately led to Super Bowl XXXVIII against the New England Patriots.
The Panthers released Peete to free agency in February 2005 for salary cap reasons, but he chose to retire instead of re-signing with a team for another season. Peete finished his career with the most NFL career passing yards among QBs from USC, a record that was eclipsed by Carson Palmer of the Oakland Raiders.
After his retirement from the NFL, Peete became one of the hosts the Fox Sports Net sports talk show The Best Damn Sports Show Period alongside John Salley, Chris Rose and Rob Dibble.
Peete has been married to actress Holly Robinson since 1995. The couple have four children: daughter Ryan and son Rodney Jr., twins born October 19, 1997, son Robinson, born August 11, 2002, and son Roman, born February 25, 2005. One of their twins, Rodney Jr., was diagnosed with autism at age three. He tells of his story of Rodney, Jr., in the June 2010 issues of Men's Health.
- ^ Pro Line Profiles football card, 1992
- ^ National Football League: NFL Draft History Full Draft, retrieved 26 September 2009
- ^ Martin, Chris (18 January 2005), Scout.com: Position Outlook - Quarterback, retrieved 26 September 2009
- ^ Pasquarelli, Len (18 April 2005), Peete to co-host "The Best Damn Sports Show Period" - NFL - ESPN, retrieved 27 September 2009
- ^ Kaplan, Erin Aubry - Holly's Heart. Essence, February 2007.
- ^ Peete, Rodney and Craig Bridger. "My Son Calls the Plays". Men's Health. June 2010. pp. 132, 134.