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Through My Eyes: Domata Peko Sr. prepares for his old team

Posted Nov 16, 2017

Nose tackle Domata Peko Sr. describes his emotions going into his first game against the only other NFL team he's ever played for.

A lot of people say, "At least you're still wearing orange." 

I'd been in Cincinnati for 11 years, so this week is going to be an emotional game. They're the ones who gave me my first shot.

Marvin Lewis is a great coach. He turned the organization around over there. Before he got there, they were winning four games a year, three games a year. He went over there and now they've been in the playoffs five of the last seven years. He made some changes there, and Coach Lewis is really admired there. He's the one that gave me the call on draft day. He's the one that wanted me, and I have nothing but love and respect for him.

I remember that day like it was yesterday. I had a barbecue. My wife was there, all my family was there. It was at my sister's house, and I remember I thought I was going to be drafted in the seventh round or sixth round, but we got a call early in the fourth round that the Bengals wanted me. I remember answering that phone. The first thing I did was I got my family together — it was maybe 25 to 50 people — we made a big circle and said a prayer and gave thanks to God for the opportunity to play.

It was always awesome playing in the jungle in Cincy at Paul Brown Stadium. The fans were awesome. But for me, a lot of the stuff I'm going to miss are just the relationships I built there. I made a lot of friends there, a lot of neighbors are really good friends, and those are the things that me and my wife, Anna, and our three boys are going to miss: all our friends and relationships we made out there. But now that we're here in Denver, we're starting to meet new friends and meet new people, so I knew God had a plan for us to come out here. 

To be on a new team now going against my old friends, old teammates, it's going to be fun.

But it's also pretty weird, because I practiced with them every day. And seeing them on film and knowing that you're going against them now, it's cool for me. I'm excited for the opportunity to go against people that I was on the other side of the ball with, who used to be my teammates. Now that I'm going against them, I'm just going to go out there and do my job.

I have nothing but love and respect for the organization there, but I'm ready to go out there and do my job against them. It's going to be very … I don't know if it's like a vendetta, but there's a chip on my shoulder because they could have got me back, but they decided to let me go.

I can't wait to go out there and make some plays and tackle some of my old friends.