The suspended NFL player says he apologized to his son immediately after seeing what he'd done to him

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Credit: Wesley Hitt/Getty

Adrian Peterson says he’s learned his lesson.

The NFL star, who was suspended for the season after spanking his 4-year-old son to the point of bleeding – an act for which he pleaded no contest to misdemeanor reckless assault – opens up at length about the incident in a new interview with USA Today.

“I won’t ever use a switch again,” he says, referring to the tree branch he used to spank his son. “There’s different situations where a child needs to be disciplined as far as timeout, taking their toys away, making them take a nap. There’s so many different ways to discipline your kids.”

The Minnesota Vikings running back, 29, says he immediately regretted the incident after he saw his son was injured.

“No one knows how I felt when I turned my child around after spanking him and seeing what I had left on his leg,” he says. “No one knows that Dad sat there and apologized to him, hugged him and told him that I didn’t mean to do this to you and how sorry I was.”

He adds: “I love my son. I love my kids, my family. Like I said after I took the misdemeanor plea, I take full responsibility for my actions. I regret the situation. I love my son more than any one of you could even imagine.”

Peterson said he recently spoke to his son for the first time in five months.

“When he got on the phone, he said, ‘Hey Dad,’ ” Peterson says. “I was like, ‘Hey buddy, how you doing?’ ‘I’m doing okay.’ I was like, ‘I love you.’ He was like, ‘I love you, too, Dad. Can I come over to your house?’ ”

Peterson was ordered to pay a $4,000 fine and perform 80 hours of community service after his no contest plea. The NFL suspended him without pay for at least the rest of the season, and his future with the Vikings is unclear.

“I would love to go back and play in Minnesota to get a feel and just see if my family still feels comfortable there,” he says. “But if there’s word out that hey, they might release me, then so be it. I would feel good knowing that I’ve given everything I had in me.”

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