Big Play WR Jazeric Peterson Signs with Bay Area

November 28, 2023 - Indoor Football League (IFL) - Bay Area Panthers News Release

In sports and culture, many icons are identified by one name. Messi, Kobe, Madonna, Lebron, Cher, Tiger, Usher and Ronaldo are just a few.

New Panthers wide receiver Jazeric Peterson aspires to leave a mark as an IFL great who can be recognized by a single name.

"In certain areas, I leave my mark," said Peterson. "If somebody says my name wherever I leave, they're going to say, 'there goes that dude.'"

Peterson will not be starting from scratch despite heading to his fourth IFL team. Offensive Coordinator Dixie Wooten was Peterson's head coach as a rookie in Iowa and later in Tucson.

"He's the real deal and will come in and be one of the hardest working guys in the building," said Wooten. "He doesn't take days off. Jazeric is the kind of guy who will come before practice to work, then practice and go to the weight room after everything is over. The other guys are going to see him work and follow his lead."

The work ethic was inspired by the late Kobe Bryant who taught others to embrace the process even when it's not pleasant.

"If you study any great athlete, they'll always say they didn't enjoy working out every day," said Peterson. "I understood and know it's just like math: It keeps adding up."

The Panthers were on the short end of Peterson's skills in 2023 when he caught 5 passes for 61 yards and two scores in Arizona's 70-63 win that put the Rattlers in the driver's seat to secure the top seed in the Western Conference playoffs. Head Coach Rob Keefe is happy he doesn't have to figure ways to cover him.

"Jazeric has a great combination of speed, athleticism and toughness," said Keefe. "We're excited to get him back in Coach Wooten's offense and watch him take off."

Peterson is counting on his career taking off with the defending IFL champions. Watching Bay Area hoist the trophy was a big part in him heading to California.

"The most important thing is that I want to win," said Peterson. "I've always won in high school and in college. I had success when I first got to the IFL and want to continue to win. These guys are coming off a championship and I want to be part of the back-to-back."

Not only will Peterson reconnect with Wooten but will be catching passes from a familiar arm. Former MVP Daquan Neal came into the league with Peterson in Iowa and played with him again in Tucson. With their history, Neal didn't need to twist Peterson's arm to join the Panthers.

"There was really nothing to sell. 'I know you and you know me. I know how hard you work. I know what you bring to the field and that you're different from any quarterback who plays this game. Let's make this happen.' "

Peterson understands that some people mispronounce his name (Juh-ZAIR-ick) but will not take kindly to a more convenient version like "Jazz", especially by opponents.

"If I know you can't say my name, I'm going to make you say my name," said Peterson. "It's like you're shortening me. Let them know who I really am. If you can say it, you can give me a nickname. But if you can't, it's over."

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