Embattled NFL star Adrian Peterson will officially be reinstated Friday, the league announced Thursday.
The Minnesota Vikings player was sidelined for most of last season after he was accused of physically abusing his 4-year-old son with a switch from a tree. After reaching a plea deal on lesser charges, Peterson avoided jail time but his future in the NFL remained uncertain.
The league rejected his attempt to be reinstated late last year, which led to a protracted legal battle. Although Peterson had publicly apologized for his actions, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said the running back had shown “no meaningful remorse” for his actions.
The two men met on April 7 privately for the first time since the allegations against him surfaced and, apparently, Goodell has since had a change of heart. According to the NFL, the commissioner informed Peterson via a letter that he can resume his scheduled activities with the Vikings and will be required to continue attending counseling and treatment sessions.
"The Minnesota Vikings have been informed by the NFL that Adrian Peterson has been reinstated. We look forward to Adrian re-joining the Vikings." the team said in statement.
Peterson had been suspended without pay since last November. Prior to his reinstatement there has been intense speculation about whether Peterson will stay in Minnesota, where he has played his entire NFL career, or seek a trade to another franchise. His hometown Dallas Cowboys have long been rumored as a favorite to acquire his services. He was issued a stern warning upon his return that he must adhere to league's revised Personal Conduct Policy or face potential permanent removal from pro football.
The decision to reinstate Peterson closes a long chapter in a season of bad press for the NFL. Peterson's incident with his son came on the heels of widespread coverage of former NFL star Ray Rice's domestic assault against his wife in an Atlantic City casino elevator early last year. In the wake of the controversies, the NFL rolled out new, stricter penalties on players who commit violent acts.
For his part, Peterson promised in a November 2014 interview with USA Today that he “won’t ever use a switch again” on his children and that he and his son are working to repair the damage the incident has caused.