Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson vowed never to use a switch again as a means of discipline and said he was startled to see the injuries it caused his son in the June 2013 incident that got him suspended for the rest of the 2014 season.
In an interview published Friday by USA Today, the six-time Pro Bowler said he loves his 4-year-old son "more than anyone could ever imagine."
The National Football League on Tuesday suspended Peterson for at least the remainder of the season after he entered a no-contest plea in a Texas court to a reckless assault charge.
He will not be considered for reinstatement before April 15.
"I won't ever use a switch again," Peterson said. "There's different situations where a child needs to be disciplined as far as time-out, taking their toys away, making them take a nap... There's so many different ways to discipline your kids."
Peterson, 29, had been charged with a felony before his plea. The switch caused cuts and bruises over much of the child's body.
"No one knows how I felt when I turned my child around after spanking him and seeing what I had left on his leg," Peterson said. "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."
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, in a letter announcing the suspension, said Peterson had shown "no meaningful remorse" for the incident.
"I love my son. I love my kids, my family," Peterson told USA Today. "Like I said after I took the misdemeanor plea, I take full responsibility for my actions.
"I regret the situation."
The NFL has been criticized for what is widely seen as being soft on domestic abuse since the case of Ray Rice, a Baltimore Ravens running back who knocked out his fiancée in February, escalated in May.
Goodell suspended Rice for two games, but when video emerged in September of Rice punching his then-fiancée (now wife), the Ravens cut him and the NFL suspended him indefinitely.
Peterson said his situation is different.
"I take full responsibility because I spanked my child and no matter what my intentions were, I end up leaving those marks on his legs," Peterson said. "That's the bottom line.
"That's not what I tried to do but that's what ended up happening. Don't put me in the same [category as Rice]."