Peter Warrick was born and raised in Bradenton, Florida where he attended Southeast High School.
He was a three-sport star for the Southeast Seminoles in basketball, football, and track.
As a track and field star, he earned All-area first-team honors in the 100m and long jump events.
Warrick was a dual-threat player during his high school football career.
During his junior year, he caught 34 passes for 580 yards and 12 touchdowns as a wide receiver.
As a senior quarterback, he threw for 1,068 yards and scored a total of 15 touchdowns.
His excellent play catapulted the Seminoles to a stellar 29-1 win-loss record in his last two years of high school.
He was an integral part of a Southeast team which won back-to-back state titles in 1993 and 1994.
Warrick told the Herald-Tribune’s Tom Balog the high school football moment which stood out the most was his game-winning punt return against the Manatee Hurricanes in 1993:
That was my ‘coming out,’ like my Clemson game in college. But you know how it is in football. All it takes is a little confidence. It feels like, ‘Okay, I can do this.’
That’s all it takes. When you get a little confidence and a little dog in you – I already had dog in me – I already felt like I was the best person out there.
For his part, then-Manatee head football coach Joe Kinnan dubbed Warrick “an incredible football player,” per Balog.
He said Warrick was the kind of player you didn’t want with the football.
He was that special.
In fact, National Recruiting Advisor ranked Warrick the best high school wide receiver and seventh best player in the nation in 1995.
He was on his way to becoming a big-name recruit in the college ranks.
Florida State University Days
Warrick received scholarship offers from several prestigious football programs.
However, he decided to remain in state and eventually committed to Bobby Bowden’s Florida State Seminoles.
Warrick sat out the 1995 NCAA season as a redshirt.
When he took the field the year after as a redshirt freshman (side note: Hall-of-Fame wide receiver Randy Moss was his roommate before he transferred to Marshall), he made an immediate impact.
Warrick led the Seminoles with an average of 21.2 yards per catch.
His 467 yards and 22 receptions also placed him second and fourth among FSU receivers, respectively.
His best game of the 1996 NCAA season was his four-catch, 87-yard reception performance against the Southern Miss Golden Eagles.
Warrick continued to build on his success during his redshirt sophomore season.
His coming out party came on September 20, 1997 when he burned the Clemson Tigers for 372 all-purpose yards and three touchdowns – including a 90-yard punt return for a score – in a 35-28 road victory.
With the accomplishment, Warrick became just the third player in FSU’s football history to amass more than 200 receiving yards in a game, per Seminoles.com.
Warrick finished his redshirt sophomore season with 53 receptions, 884 yards, and eight touchdowns.
He was a second-team All-ACC member and was a Biletnikoff Award semifinalist in 1997.
Warrick upped the ante a year later with 61 receptions, 1,232 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns.
One of his seven 100-yard receiving games was his 190-yard, one-touchdown performance in a 26-14 win over the host Miami Hurricanes on October 10,1998.
His stellar performance during the season helped FSU win 11 of its 13 games.
Unfortunately, Warrick’s Seminoles lost to the Tennessee Volunteers 23-16 in the 1999 Fiesta Bowl.
Nevertheless, Warrick earned consensus All-America and first-team Associated Press and Walter Camp All-American honors at the conclusion of his redshirt junior year.
He was also a finalist for the Biletnikoff Award.
His college career culminated in FSU’s second national title after the Seminoles routed Michael Vick’s Virginia Tech Hokies 46-29 in the 2000 Sugar Bowl.
Warrick’s stat line for that game was one for the ages: six receptions for 163 yards and two touchdowns.
He also ran a 59-yard punt along the right sideline for a touchdown in the second quarter.
Warrick, who was named 2000 Sugar Bowl MVP, told AllStateSugarBowl.org in the aftermath of the contest he ended his college career on a high note:
“I’ve never been so focused before a game in my life. I was just going to go into this game to do what I’ve done all season – go out and make plays.”
“When I leave Florida State, I want people to think of me as a good person on and off the field. I went out as a champion. This is the national championship. No one can ever take this away from me.”
With 59 days remaining until #FSU football, we remember Peter Warrick's 59-yard punt return for a score against Virginia Tech in the 2000 Sugar Bowl as the #Noles won a second national championship: https://t.co/wWsQBvWpZ7 #NoleNation pic.twitter.com/H8742VXZ61
— The Daily Nole (@TheDailyNole) July 6, 2018
Unfortunately, Warrick’s reputation took a hit during that season.
Police arrested Warrick and his Seminoles teammate (and future NFL Pro Bowler) Laveranues Coles the week after their fifth game of the season for grand theft at a Dillard’s department store.
They allegedly paid just $21.40 for $412.38 worth of items.
The subsequent suspension resulted in Warren suiting up in just four more games, drastically affecting his chances of winning the Heisman Trophy.
Senior Wisconsin Badgers running back Ron Dayne eventually earned that distinction.
Despite missing out on the Heisman Trophy, Peter Warrick cemented his legacy as one of the best players in Florida State Seminoles football history.
He concluded his college career with 207 receptions for 3,517 yards and 32 touchdowns.
He also amassed 937 yards and two touchdowns on a combined 72 punt and kick returns.
No less than the legendary FSU head football coach Bobby Bowden considered Warrick’s talent levels at par with the likes of Andre Wadsworth, Warrick Dunn, and Derrick Brooks.
“He’s a dangerous football player,” Bowden told the Los Angeles Times in 1999. “I think you better get two or three guys on him. He’s just got a God-given talent to evade people.”
Fourth Overall Pick of the 2000 NFL Draft
The Cincinnati Bengals made Peter Warrick the fourth overall selection of the 2000 NFL Draft.
The Bengals hoped Warrick could exceed expectations in the pros and join the ranks of Cris Collinsworth, Isaac Curtis, and Carl Pickens as the best wide receivers in franchise history.
Cincinnati was coming off a disastrous 4-12 win-loss 1999 season.
The Bengals also missed the postseason for a ninth consecutive year.
Cincinnati’s receiving corps was thin entering the 2000 NFL season.
The Bengals cut Pickens, let Willie Jackson become a free agent, and sidelined Darnay Scott for the entire season after he broke his leg during training camp.
The wideout depth chart wasn’t particularly impressive, either: Cincinnati’s healthy receivers included guys such as Danny Farmer, Craig Yeast, and Ron Dugans.
For these reasons, football fans from Southwest Ohio and Northern Kentucky pinned their hopes on the electrifying Warrick.
Warrick put up some decent numbers during his rookie season, catching 51 passes for 592 yards and four touchdowns.
The Bengals continued to struggle as they duplicated their dreadful 4-12 win-loss record.
Warrick wasn’t much better during his sophomore campaign.
While he had slightly more receptions (70) and receiving yards (667), he only had one touchdown catch all season long. At 6-10, Cincinnati continued it’s losing ways in 2001.
The third-year pro reversed his statistical trend in the 2002 NFL season.
He caught more touchdown passes (six) while recording fewer receiving yards (606) and receptions (53) from a year ago.
Ultimately, it didn’t matter much as the Bengals reached rock bottom, winning just two of their 16 games in 2002.
All of a sudden, things started to look up for Warrick and Co. a season later.
Warrick upped the ante during the 2003 NFL season and flourished as a slot receiver.
He recorded career highs in receptions (79), receiving yards (819), and touchdowns (seven).
His most memorable game was against the 9-0 Kansas City Chiefs on November 16, 2003.
Arguably the signature moment of his NFL career was his 68-yard punt return for a touchdown.
Several plays later, Warrick caught a touchdown pass from quarterback Jon Kitna to secure the Bengals’ 24-19 upset win over the Chiefs.
11-16-2003, the Bengals beat the Chiefs 24-19. @Pdub80 Peter Warrick had a 68 yard punt return touchdown & caught a 77 yard touchdown from @CoachJKit. Rudi Johnson ran for 165 yards on 22 carries. pic.twitter.com/L2xTocunRK
— Scott F (@TheFrizz87) November 17, 2020
Warrick’s breakout campaign helped the Bengals win eight games in 2003.
Despite the impressive turnaround, Cincinnati still missed the postseason.
Nonetheless, it was something the Bengals could build on the following year.
Warrick spoke with Bengals.com’s Geoff Hobson about his best pro season in 2003:
“I had a nice season. I just think it’s getting better every year. I told my family the fifth year is going to be the best year just because I know the system and what I have to do.”
“We;ve got Coach Brat (offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski) and I’ve been with him how many years now? Four? Now I can do things better with more experience, more knowing what I have to do.”
Just when Warrick’s fortunes on the field improved, they quickly took a turn for the worse.
Warrick cracked his shin bone during the season-opening 31-24 loss to the New York Jets on September 12, 2004.
He finished with 76 receiving yards on five receptions.
“His injury has not healed in a way that he could play productively,” then-Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis told The Associated Press (via ESPN). “Our doctors all agree that the best course for Peter is to have surgery that will allow him to fully recover in plenty of time for 2005.”
Warrick played sparingly in the Bengals’ succeeding games.
The team eventually decided to shut him down for the rest of the season prior to the Week 7 game against the visiting Denver Broncos.
He never suited up in a Bengals jersey again.
Warrick’s injury solidified T.J. Houshmandzadeh’s status as Cincinnati’s No. 2 wide receiver behind Pro Bowler Chad Johnson.
Without Warrick in tow, the Bengals duplicated their 8-8 win-loss record from 2003, missing the postseason yet again.
Since the Bengals had a logjam at the wide receiver spot, there were rumors Warrick requested for his release.
The team reluctantly agreed to his wishes.
“There is some disappointment involved in making this move,” Lewis said in a team statement. “But I believe it’s in the best interest of the Bengals and Peter to go forward.”
However, Warrick cleared the air in an interview with The Bradenton Times’ Dennis Maley in March 2012.
Warrick said he heard rumors about his impending release when he sat out nearly the entire 2004 NFL season.
Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis assured him no such thing will happen.
The Bengals cut Warrick the next day.
Warrick told Maley he felt the team “disrespected” him:
“I felt really disrespected by the way that was handled. I gave everything I had to Cincinnati, and I just felt they owed it to me to tell me like a man.”
“Not hearing it everywhere else first, and then just asking not to be humiliated if that was the case. Let me know before I walk in there, you know, men have pride.”
“That’s when I understood that this is just a business and they’re not looking out for anything but their bottom line. There’s no family, no loyalty, it’s just a money thing.”
Fortunately, Warrick didn’t have to wait long to find another team.
The Seattle Seahawks signed Warrick to a one-year deal worth $1.4 million just days before the start of the 2005 NFL season, per ESPN.
Seattle expected Warrick to contend for the No. 3 receiver role behind starters Bobby Engram and Darrell Jackson.
He never lived up to the hype, finishing the season with just 180 receiving yards on 11 catches.
Warrick took the field for Super Bowl XL, finishing with 27 punt return yards in the Seahawks’ 21-10 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Seattle eventually released Warrick after the preseason seven months later.
In the end, some Bengals lifers regret their team passing up on prolific running back Jamal Lewis, whom the Baltimore Ravens selected right after Warrick in the 2000 NFL Draft.
Cincinnati also passed up on Plaxico Burress, Thomas Jones, Corey Simon, and Brian Urlacher, who were all drafted after Warrick and had far more productive NFL careers.
Happy Sports Card Sunday! Today’s card is of former @Bengals player Peter Warrick!#Bengals #WhoDey #SeizeTheDEY #BALvsCIN #Cincinnati pic.twitter.com/jY3IJvsgH2
— Cincy Fan Zone (@CincyFanZone) January 3, 2021
To sum up Peter Warrick’s career in the NFL, it was nowhere as productive as his days at Florida State.
Warrick’s electrifying play in college fizzled out sooner than expected at the pro level.
While he showed occasional flashes of brilliance, it was clear from the outset he wasn’t the franchise wide receiver the Cincinnati Bengals envisioned him to become.
Post-NFL Football Career
Four months after Warrick’s release from the Seattle Seahawks, he signed with the Arena Football League’s (AFL) Las Vegas Gladiators.
Warrick didn’t show up after Week 1, prompting the Gladiators to place him on their “refuse to report” list.
Warrick took his talents North of the border, signing with the Canadian Football League’s (CFL) Montreal Alouettes in May 2008.
They cut him a month later.
The beleaguered wideout signed with the Indoor Football League’s (IFL) Bloomington Extreme in March 2009.
A few days later, Warrick told The Pantagraph’s Mike Egenes his naysayers won’t deter him in his desire to make a difference on the gridiron:
“All you hear is people say you didn’t do this and you didn’t do that. Most of the time, those are the same people who aren’t doing anything with their lives.”
“I’ve grown up with haters all my life. I’ve learned. I know when other people say things like that, it just motivates me.”
Warrick made a big splash during his lone season as an indoor football player in Bloomington.
He caught for 606 yards and 13 touchdowns on 56 receptions for the Extreme.
In September 2009, Warrick signed with the United Football League’s (UFL) California Redwoods.
Unfortunately, he didn’t make the cut and wasn’t included in their official roster.
A year later, Warrick signed with the Continental Indoor Football League’s (CIFL) Cincinnati Commandos.
While it marked his second tour of duty in the Queen City, he never suited up for the team.
Peter Warrick’s Post-Football Life
Peter Warrick played his final down once his short-lived stint with the Bloomington Extreme concluded.
However, Warrick’s love for the gridiron hasn’t waned.
He was elected into the FSU Hall of Fame in 2010.
His alma mater, Southeast High, hired him to become the Seminoles’ wide receivers coach the same year.
Around that time, he also worked as a parent liaison at Daughtry Elementary School in Bradenton, FL.
Warrick spoke about his high school football coaching job with the Herald-Tribune’s Tom Balog in July 2011:
“What I enjoyed was teaching the kids something that I already learned. What I’m teaching them is not just on the college level. I was teaching them what they do in the NFL. That was the good thing about it. And they responded.”
We got some young guys. I got an opportunity to coach Bo Brand and those guys. They were already athletes. But if I can go out and spread the knowledge, it was just great for me.
Eight years after electing Warrick into the FSU Hall of Fame, the Seminoles retired his No. 9 jersey at Doak Campbell Stadium.
He became the 10th Seminoles player to earn that distinction.
Warrick told Seminoles.com’s Ariya Massoudi the moment “gave me chills.”
Had a great time last night hanging with Peter Warrick, who’s in town to celebrate his #9 jersey retirement during Monday’s game against Virginia Tech. Well deserved!
Thanks @Pdub80 and Congrats!!! pic.twitter.com/KY93Qqk44P
— ConservativeNole (@SpearItSports) September 1, 2018
Peter Warrick is currently based in Atlanta, GA.
In recent years, he has been working with children with special needs and disabilities at a local high school.
Warrick and his wife, Tabitha, co-founded the Payton Warrick Foundation, which they named after their young son.
He also has two daughters and another son: Alyric, 24, Pete, 19, and Alyrah, 15.
Leave a Reply