Cardinals WR DeAndre Hopkins Responds to PED Suspension

DeAndre Hopkins

Getty Images DeAndre Hopkins celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Texas in 2021.

After being suspended for six games fo violating the NFL’s Performance Enhancing Drug policy, Arizona Cardinals Pro Bowl receiver DeAndre Hopkins tweeted a statement, saying: “In my 10-year NFL career, I have never tested positive for using performance-enhancing drugs. To learn that my November test came back with trace elements of a banned substance, I was confused and shocked.

“I am very mindful of what I put in my body and have always taken a holistic approach, so I am working with my team to investigate how this could’ve happened,” Hopkins continued. “But even as careful as I’ve been, clearly I wasn’t careful enough. For that, I apologize to Cardinals fans, my teammates and the entire Cardinals organization. I never want to let my team down. I fully intend to get to the bottom of this. As soon as I have more information I will share it.”

Hopkins’ six-game suspension came after a positive test result from an anabolic agent, according to the NFL’s updated PED policy.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter was the first to report the suspension on May 2. The news added to a Cardinals offseason already filled with drama regarding quarterback Kyler Murray’s contract situation.

Pro Football Focus’ Ari Meirov added that Hopkins’ appeal was withdrawn and the suspension is now final. NFL insider Ian Rapoport also confirmed that Hopkins withdrew his appeal.

He’s eligible to participate in all preseason practices and games before the regular season and will be put on the Cardinals’ active roster after the team’s sixth regular-season game.

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Hopkins Forfeits 6-Game Salary

According to Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio, Hopkins could lose up to $5.2 million for missing the first six games of 2022. The Cardinals could elect to cut Hopkins because his suspension voids his guaranteed salary for 2022, “assuming his contract contains the strongest permissible forfeiture language under the labor deal,” Florio wrote.

Of course, releasing Hopkins, who will be 30 when the 2022 season starts, would be highly unlikely given that he is their No. 1 wideout. Even while missing seven games in 2021 with hamstring and knee injuries, he still led the Cardinals with eight receiving touchdowns. The Cardinals were 3-5 — including a 34-11 playoff loss to the Los Angeles Rams — in Hopkins’ absence. In 10 games last season, Hopkins posted 42 catches for 572 yards as the team went 8-2.

The three-time first-team All-Pro has 157 receptions and 1,979 yards and 14 touchdowns in 26 games over two seasons in Arizona.

Cardinals Trading for WR Becomes Paramount

Just after breaking the story, Schefter tweeted that the impending suspension, along with loss of Christian Kirk to free agency, likely was the reason the Cardinals traded their first-round pick for Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Marquise Brown on Day 1 of last week’s draft.

Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer reported that Hopkins’ potential absence “was, indeed, a factor” in landing Brown because the Cardinals had known for a while that the suspension was coming.

Brown was a first-round pick by the Ravens in 2019. His best season came in 2021, finishing with 91 receptions for 1,008 yards and six touchdowns in 16 games.

Murray and Brown were teammates at Oklahoma, and their past experience could minimize the impact of Hopkins’ six-game absence.

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