Sean Payton isn’t a huge gumbo fan, but he does love Marcus Peters.

After the pair’s fiery back-and-forth that played out through the media after the Saints and Rams meeting in Week 9, both the Saints coach and the Los Angeles cornerback pledged nothing but respect for one another in their first public comments about the feud since November.

“I have a lot of respect for Sean Payton and what he does,” Peters said. “During the game, things happen, but I love the fact that he’s a competitor.”

In New Orleans’ 45-35 victory over the then-undefeated Rams, Michael Thomas set a franchise record with 211 receiving yards – 146 of those coming with Peters in coverage, according to Pro Football Focus. Nearly half that came on a 72-yard game-sealing score in the final minutes. With veteran corner Aqib Talib on injured reserve for that game, Payton said exploiting Peters was a perfectly-executed part of his team’s plan.

“They were going to travel Marcus to him, and that was fine by us,” he said following the game. “We thought we really liked that matchup – a lot.”

Peters took offense to the perceived slight, and he had a message for the head coach.

“I liked what he was saying on the sidelines too,” Peters said. “I hope you seen me soon. You feel me? And then we’re going to have a nice little bowl of gumbo together.”

On Monday, Peters twice tweeted “It’s gumbo week let’s eat” but deleted them both times. Despite his social media messages, the fourth-year corner accused the media of fanning the flame over the last two months. Whether Peters comments in November or on Wednesday display his true feelings remains to be seen, but he explained his comments after the first matchup came from his own frustrations with his performance.


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Including that game, Peters had given up six touchdowns with just one interception in his first eight games of the 2018 season, but on the back-half, he didn’t give up another score while holding opposing quarterbacks to a 45.1 passer rating when targeting the Washington alum.

“It wasn’t anything to be disrespectful. I was pissed off I didn’t have the game I wanted to have,” he said Wednesday. “Coming into this, we’ve got to be excited about these rematches and things like that, but we’re going to give them all the respect we have cause they’re the No. 1 seed for a reason.”

With both Talib and Saints receiver Ted Ginn Jr. back in their respective lineups, we may not see Peters hawking Thomas much in Sunday’s NFC Championship game, but if Payton had his way, he’d have the Rams corner on his own sideline.

Payton explained that entering the 2015 NFL Draft, Peters was one of two guys, along with New Orleans offensive tackle Andrus Peat, the Saints were hoping to land after a great evaluation of the 26-year-old.

“He’s from the Bay area, and I used to recruit there where he went to high school,” Payton said. “He’s someone we came close to drafting that year.

“I have great respect for him.”


Follow Nathan Brown on Twitter, @nbrownadvocate.