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Peterman's first NFL start a dream come true


Hectic would be one way to describe the past four days for quarterback Nathan Peterman. On Sunday, he took his first regular season snaps in the NFL. On Wednesday, he was named the starting quarterback of the Buffalo Bills.

Peterman is just a rookie, but he has already endured a lot of adversity to get to reach this point of his playing career.

In college, he spent two years at Tennessee and eventually transferred to Pittsburgh for his last two seasons. Peterman left Tennessee after they had different plans at the quarterback position. He made the most of his final two collegiate seasons, which included a road win at Clemson in 2016, the only loss for last year's national champions. So, it was difficult holding back the emotions when receiving the news from head coach Sean McDermott.

"It was pretty emotional. I tried not to show it, obviously," Peterman said. "It's a dream come true to get this opportunity. I've been through a lot to get here too. It's a great opportunity, but it's all in front of me. I have to go work to earn it."

Peterman set several records while at Pittsburgh. He also started in the 2017 Senior Bowl and became a fifth-round draft choice of the Bills. Despite all those achievements, Wednesday's news was some of the best he's received in his playing career.

"It's up there, for sure. It's only an opportunity," he said. "It's awesome because it's uncontrollable in a sense. You can't really control when you're going to play. It's just one step and I have to keep working."

The mentors Peterman has had to help get to this point are pretty remarkable. He learned from both Mark Brunell and Dak Prescott, who have each served as mentors. The two were late-round picks, similar to Peterman.

"Dak was great, especially in the offseason. Even in the Senior Bowl, I talked to him before then. We trained together a little bit. It's funny, I actually got to throw with Kelvin [Benjamin] when we were down their training," he said. "They've been very helpful. Mark is always saying just be ready. The last time we talked was in the summer, so a lot has happened since then. It definitely helped in the offseason process with a rookie trying to get to the NFL."

Benjamin and Peterman crossing paths proved to pay off when he came in Sunday against the Saints. The duo connected twice for 33 yards in less than a minute. That brief time was beneficial for Peterman moving forward.

"I think the good thing is I've seen some live action versus starters. Whether it be that (Baltimore) game in the preseason where I got in earlier than expected. Then even this past game with the Saints," he said. "At the end of the day I have to do my one-eleventh, my part of this team. I think that's what the guys in the huddle expect of me."

Peterman takes over the reins of a team that's currently in a 17-year playoff drought. He's the starter now for a 5-4 team that's currently in control of its own destiny.

"I wouldn't say I'm walking into it because I've been a part of the team the whole season. Since I walked into this facility, after I got drafted, the message has been playoff caliber and we're going to get to the playoffs. I'm right there with the team," Peterman said. "We're 5-4 and I just try to do everything I can on the other side, behind the scenes, to get us there. Now I'm going to try and do the same thing now that I'm in front of the scenes."

For Peterman, the goal this Sunday against the Chargers and moving forward remains the same.

"I just expect to win every game I'm out there. I think that's the ultimate goal," he said. "What I measure myself on as a quarterback is did we win? It doesn't matter about stats or anything like that. For me it's just about winning. My goal is to win this Sunday."

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