Peterson declined to speak Friday specifically about the situation, asking reporters to respect his and his family's privacy. His father, Nelson Peterson, told the St. Paul Pioneer Press that one of Peterson's sons was in critical condition at a hospital in South Dakota.
Prosecutors and police in South Dakota declined to confirm that Peterson is the father of a 2-year-old boy who was hospitalized with severe injuries in Sioux Falls on Wednesday. Police described the child's condition as consistent with abuse.
The man accused in the case, Joseph Patterson, 27, is charged in Lincoln County with aggravated assault and aggravated battery on an infant. He had a court appearance Friday and was ordered held on $750,000 cash bond.
Jane Bammert, owner of the Little Coalinga Bar, told The Associated Press that Peterson stopped by the Sioux Falls restaurant on Thursday for a turkey sandwich.
Peterson smiled politely while he took questions after practice Friday, but he spoke softly with a somber expression with dozens of cameras, recorders and media members surrounding him in the locker room.
"I'll be ready to roll, focused," Peterson said, looking ahead to the game Sunday against Carolina.
Peterson is second in the NFL with 421 yards rushing and first in the league with five touchdowns.
"Football is something I will always fall back on," Peterson said. "It gets me through tough times. Just being around the guys in here, that's what I need."
Associated Press writer Carson Walker in Sioux Falls, S.D., contributed to this report.
AP NFL website: http://www.pro32.ap.org
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