For weeks the buzz, fueled by Internet rumors, was the Willingboro N.J., resident had won the million-dollar prize, even prompting a Philadelphia newspaper to feature Peterson on one of its covers. Those speculations were crushed Wednesday night when his fellow tribe members sent him packing.
"Sue was never going to win anything as long as I was there, without a doubt," Peterson told CBS News Early Show Anchor Bryant Gumbel, adding, "They had to get rid of me."
Why is he singling out Sue?
"I don't like Sue," came the reply. He added later, "She's very annoying She's bossy. She thinks if you're not working as hard as Sue, you're not working, period. Sue goes to sleep, wakes up, works. She dreams of working."
As for his own work ethic, Peterson said, "I went out there with a plan to do as little work as possible, be friends with everybody, coast through it, be non-threatening and win."
Sue was not the only one who came under fire. Peterson was a little rough on Rich, too, after he was asked how he felt about Rich running around naked.
"It was brutal. Brutal!" he recalled. But he also said it made him feel good about his own physique.
Even one of buddies, Sean, did not escape Peterson's criticism.
"Sean's an idiot," he said. "I love Sean like a brother. We're cool. (But) out there, he was Brainiac No. 1. He was clueless! Didn't know there was an alliance going on until after Jenna got booted off."
Peterson explained that he and Jenna did not care for one another on the island.
"Jenna is very happy, very positive and motivated. But out there on the island, it was too much," he said. "We are best friends now."
He also has stayed in touch with Joel; they talk to each other every day.
"Me and Joel were great buddies. We had the same plan," Peterson explains. "I was crushed when Joel got voted off. I think I almost cried Joel was somebody you looked up to. If I could be anybody, I would be Joel. He had all of the skills. All the skills I didn't have, Joel had. I couldn't understand why he was voted off."
What did he think about Rudy's comments about Peterson's children being born out of wedlock?
"When Rudy grew up, you'd meet a girl, get married, have kids, all that good stuff," said Peterson. "It's like my granddad said: 'The times, they are a-changin', but you need to change with the times. Rudy is not ever going to change."
It has been a long summer for Peterson, who said he loves the media attention. But none of the Survivor contestants get any prize money until after Aug. 23, when the final episode is broadcast.
He said he has not even told his mother how it turns out.
"My mom's got a bi mouth. I can't tell her anything." said Peterson. "I didn't tell a soul."
Peterson is hoping to parlay his Survivor adventure into a career in front of the camera. He told Gumbel, "I want to be like you, Bryant," and presented him with a set of chopsticks (made by B.B.) and a coconut shell bowl (made by Gretchen).
Would he compete on Survivor again?
"In a heartbeat," said Peterson. "But it would be different."
What would be different?