April 11, 2024

Steinberg: Peters looking to continue getting better

Thomas Skrlj/CFL.ca

It feels like Jamal Peters is just getting started.

In three seasons with the Toronto Argonauts Peters established himself as one of the CFL’s premier playmakers. And as a free agent for the first time this year, Peters cashed in with the crosstown Hamilton Tiger-Cats on a deal that reportedly makes him the league’s highest paid defensive back.

With training camps across the league a month away from opening, CFL.ca caught up with Peters at the league’s content shoot this week. We checked in on Peters’ preparation for the coming season, his reasons for signing in Hamilton, and a whole lot more.

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Peters signed with the Tiger-Cats in the off-season after three years with the Argonauts (Thomas Skrlj/CFL.ca)

Q: How has your off-season gone so far?

A: The off-season has been going well. I’m training in Mississippi…that’s where I stay at with my family. I don’t really train with other guys; I like to train on my own. The off-season has been going smooth. I’m just taking it day by day, just getting ready for camp. It’s probably the first camp that I’ve been this happy to get to. That day can’t come too fast.

Q: How strange will it be going to training camp in Hamilton after three seasons in Toronto?

A: It’s going to be weird. Like, you know…when I ended up signing, it felt kind of weird. There’s going to be weird moments, but at the end of the day, I’m going to get accustomed to it. I know a few guys on the team, so it should be an easy transition.

It was weird signing with them due to the fact I’ve been in Toronto for the past three years. It’s kind of weird, but now that everything has calmed down, everything’s good.

Q: What drew you to Hamilton in free agency?

A: They’re a family-oriented organization. I like everything coach Mark (Washington) has put in for the defence, putting in the right guys to make plays. I know a few guys that are already on the team, guys I played high school with.

And it’s close to home for me. I didn’t want to go out west, I wanted to be be close to home and have my family be able to attend my games.

Everything about Hamilton I just like. The fan base, doing stuff in the city, just everything about it I love.

Q: How energizing is to be joining the Ticats with a couple other former Argos in defensive linemen Dewayne Hendrix and Brandon Barlow?

A: It’s very energizing. Me and Hendrix have been talking about free agency since we came in together. So we knew once we hit free agency, it was going to be our time coming to go play together.

It’s very energizing to have a couple guys I played with for the past two years, three years. It’s definitely good to have them…and I think we’re going to come in and fit in really well with the other guys.

Peters is one of three Argos to sign with the Ticats this off-season alongside Barlow and Hendrix (Christian Bender/CFL.ca)

Q: You mentioned you had some other connections in Hamilton. Who are they?

A: I know (receiver) Omar Bayless. He stays in Lower Mississippi and he’s about an hour away from me and I played in the (Mississippi High School) All-Star game with him and I played AAU basketball with him. So me and him have got a great relationship.

And (receiver) Terry Godwin, I played with when he was at Georgia. I met him through college, and I’ve been locked in with him ever since.

Q: What excites you about this Tiger-Cats team in 2024?

A: They’re a nasty group, especially the defence. They’re physical, they’re going to hit everything that moves, they like to trash talk, and I like the swagger they carry themselves with.

The offence…you know you’ve got Bo Levi (Mitchell), you’ve got JB (James Butler) at running back, then you’ve got Tim (White) tearing it up.

I just like everything that they bring, the energy that they have, even playing against them. And I think me, Barlow, and Hendrix are going to fit well with them.

The defensive back had 10 interceptions over the last two seasons in Toronto (Thomas Skrlj/CFL.ca)

Q: Week 7 is your first regular season game against Toronto. How much do you have that game circled?

A: It’s circled for sure…it’s circled. It’s the one I’m anticipating. But at the end of the day, I don’t want to get emotions involved with it. At the end of the day it’s just another game, there aren’t any hard feelings, it’s just the business of the game.

We’ve just got to come out and win that game. It’s personal for me and all I have to do is control my emotions. When you don’t control your emotions in that type of game, that’s when bad things happen. It’s when your mindset isn’t right, you’re not locked in. So, the main thing I have to do is just stay calm, you know. I know the play is going to come, just let the plays come to me and then I want to come out with the win of course.

Q: You’ve racked up ten interceptions the last two seasons, but how eager are you to show everyone you’re the best boundary corner in the CFL?

A: It’s motivating me a lot. There’s a lot of stuff people haven’t really seen, and I haven’t even played my best yet. Year four is going to be a special year. I still have to do some things people haven’t seen.

Yeah, I want to catch the ball, catch interceptions, but now I’ve got to show them I can be really physical and hit. So, the only thing I can do is stay consistent. That’s the main thing I keep telling myself: stay consistent. And out-grind my opponents and outwork myself.

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