Rodney Peete is an American former 'National Football League' (NFL) quarterback who currently works as a sports broadcast analyst. His career began with college football. He initially played for the 'USC Trojans.' His college career included many achievements. Unfortunately, his ‘NFL’ career was marred by several injuries, and he primarily served as a back-up option for the team. Despite this, Peete managed to deliver some great performances that showcased his potential to become a star sportsman. He was a quarterback for the 'Detroit Lions' (1989-1993), the 'Dallas Cowboys' (1994), the 'Philadelphia Eagles' (1995–1998), the 'Washington Redskins' (1999), the 'Oakland Raiders' (2000–2001), and finally, the 'Carolina Panthers.' He retired in 2004. Following his retirement, he turned toward sports broadcasting and entertainment. He is a philanthropist, too, and has been associated with several causes, working along with his wife, actor Holly Robinson-Peete.
Childhood & Early Life
Peete was born on March 16, 1966, in Mesa, Arizona, U.S., to Willie Peete and Edna Peete. His father was a former running backs coach of the 'Chicago Bears' and the 'Kansas City Chiefs.' His brother, Skip Peete, is an ‘NFL’ coach.
He attended the 'Sahuaro High School' in Tucson and then the 'Shawnee Mission South High School' in Overland Park, Kansas.
He was a 3-year letterman in football, basketball, and baseball. As a football player, he became the 'Arizona High School Player of the Year,' while in his junior year, he was part of the 1984 'Major League Baseball' draft for the 'Toronto Blue Jays.' However, he did not play and decided to attend the 'University of Southern California' instead.
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Peete was the first player from the university to receive the 'Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award' for being the best senior quarterback in the ‘USC.’ In his senior year of college, he finished second in the 'Heisman Memorial Trophy' voting.
He is notable for leading his 'USC Trojan' team in the 1988 ‘UCLA’–‘USC’ rivalry, despite contracting measles a few days before the game. Nevertheless, the 'Trojans' entered the 'Rose Bowl.'
Peete had also led his ‘USC’ team to the 'Rose Bowl' the following year.
He was the star third baseman on the university's baseball team, was named to the ‘All-Pac-10’ team, and was drafted thrice while at the ‘USC.’ He played for the 'Oakland Athletics' in 1988 and 1989 and for the 'Detroit Tigers' in 1990.
Peete was the 141st player to be drafted in the sixth round of the 1989 ‘NFL Draft’ and was taken by the 'Detroit Lions.' He was supposed to play for them in the opening season but could not, due to a knee sprain while playing against the 'Los Angeles Rams.' He thus had to miss the first few games of the season. With that, he lost the chance to be the first rookie quarterback to start for the 'Lions' since 1968 (after Greg Landry).
Unfortunately, he had to miss a lot of games due to several injuries. He thus did not receive enough scope to display his skills on the ground.
Peete played in alternative turns with Erik Kramer, Bob Gagliano, and former 'Heisman Trophy'-winner Andre Ware, in his first five seasons with the 'Lions.'
He subsequently played for the 'Dallas Cowboys,' the 'Washington Redskins,' the 'Philadelphia Eagles,' the 'Oakland Raiders,' and finally with the 'Carolina Panthers' (opening the season in 2002).
He scored a 7–9 record for the 'Panthers,' which was an improvement over his 1–15 in the previous season.
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Unfortunately, toward the end, his performance deteriorated. In the third quarter, he was replaced with Jake Delhomme, after he delivered a weak performance in the first half of the 2003 season-opening game against the 'Jacksonville Jaguars.' Jake led the team to a victorious comeback.
Peete was also replaced as the team's starting quarterback, after which it recorded an 11–5 score, to play the 'Super Bowl XXXVIII' against the 'New England Patriots.'
The 'Panthers' finally released Peete as a free agent in February 2005. The representative of the team cited salary issues as the cause of the discharge. However, Peete decided to resign instead of playing in the following season.
In his ‘NFL’ career, Peete achieved the record of the most passing yards among quarterbacks from ‘USC,’ a record that was later broken by Carson Palmer.
In 2014, Peete received the 'NCAA Silver Anniversary Award.'
Following his retirement form ‘NFL,’ Peete began co-hosting the 'Fox Sports Network' show 'The Best Damn Sports Show Period.'
In 2015, a docuseries on his life and career was announced by the 'Oprah Winfrey Network.' In 2017, he and his wife were featured in a commercial for 'Lipozene,' a weight-loss supplement.
In 2019, Rodney co-hosted the 'Hallmark Kitten Bowl.'
Peete is currently seen co-hosting a radio show in Los Angeles. The show, titled 'Lunch Time with Roggin and Rodney,' is aired on 'AM 570 LA Sports.' He and his wife have also been part of the reality show 'Meet the Peetes.'
Family & Personal Life
Many of Peete's relatives have been ‘NFL’ players. His father played for the 'Chicago Bears,' while his uncle Eugene Jackson played for the 'Cleveland Browns.'
His other uncles, too, played for various teams. Moody Jackson played for the 'Ottawa Rough Riders,' Steve Jackson played for the 'Saskatchewan Roughriders,' and Floyd Livingston played for the 'Dallas Cowboys.'
Peete married actor Holly Robinson on June 10, 1995, at ‘CBS’ chairman Leslie Moonves's home. They became parents to fraternal twins with the birth of their daughter Ryan Elizabeth Peete and their son Rodney Peete, Jr., on October 19, 1997. Their second son, Robinson James Peete, was born on August 11, 2002, and their youngest son, Roman Peete, was born on February 25, 2005.
In 2005, Rodney Jr. was diagnosed with autism, which led to a traumatic phase that Peete later chronicled in the June 2010 issue of 'Men's Health.'
Fortunately, after 8 years of therapy, Peete's son recovered completely. He now studies in a mainstream school and lives a normal life.
While their son was under treatment, Peete and Holly realized that the procedure was expensive and that not everyone could afford it. Hence, they established the 'HollyRod Foundation' in 1997, to assist people affected by Parkinson's disease, both emotionally and financially, and to help children suffering from autism and their families. Holly’s father, the late actor Matt Robinson, had lost his life due to Parkinson’s disease, and this, too, had pushed them to establish their own foundation.
In 2014, the organization announced the ‘RJ's Place Grant’ to provide assistive technology to autism centers and children's hospitals.
Peete and Holly were honored at the 7th 'Annual Jonathan Foundation Spring Fundraiser,' for establishing the 'HollyRod Foundation.'