Arizona Cardinals fans won’t be able to see wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins play in the first six games of the 2022 season due to the 30-year-old violating the NFL’s performance-enhancing drug policy.
However, Cardinals four-time Pro Bowl Safety Budda Baker doesn’t want to see Hopkins’ suspension go forward.
On June 28, Baker tweeted in all-caps “Free Hop”.
Baker’s comments come after Hopkins spoke to reporters last week prior to Phoenix Suns center JaVale McGee’s charity softball game at Chase Field about the suspension.
“We’re still doing some research right now,” Hopkins said on June 22. “Hopefully, before the season starts, maybe we can get the games down a little bit. But no, it wasn’t on me. I’m a natural. I’m pretty much a naturopathic kind of person.”
NFL insider Ian Rapoport confirmed in May that Hopkins withdrew his appeal.
Hopkins’ six-game suspension came after a positive test result from an anabolic agent, according to the NFL’s updated PED policy.
In response, 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.”
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Hopkins Discusses Health Regime & Rehab
Hopkins, 30, missed one game over the first eight years of his career. Once Hopkins’ suspension is lifted after six games, he’ll have missed 13 of 15 games dating back to 2021.
The veteran receiver said he was “confused and shocked” that his November test came back positive. Hopkins still wants answers about the situation.
“I don’t take any supplements,” Hopkins said. “I’ve never taken supplements. I barely take vitamins, so for something like that to happen to me, I was shocked, but my team and I are trying to figure out what’s going on.”
Without Hopkins in the first six games of the season, Arizona will have new addition Marquise Brown as their No. 1. wideout.
“I’m a competitor, so any time I’m not on the field for me it’s frustrating,” Hopkins said. “But that’s the NFL; it’s next-man-up. I have no doubt in those guys to win those six games until I’m ready.”
Before Hopkins’ six-game suspension is underway, he will be allowed to attend training camp, preseason practices and games. It’s unclear if Hopkins can get his suspension reduced.
Hopkins has been rehabbing his MCL, which required season-ending surgery.
“I’ll be ready by training camp,” he said.
Baker Sets Twitter Ablaze
The Cardinals will be missing the five-time All-Pro receiver Hopkins, who proved to be a difference-maker for the team in 2021. In 10 games last season, Hopkins posted 42 catches for 572 yards as the team went 8-2. When Hopkins missed eight games due to hamstring and knee injuries, Arizona went 3-5 — including a 34-11 playoff loss to the Los Angeles Rams.
Baker’s tweet got fans to tweet the hashtag “#FreeHop.”
One fan asked Budda if he’s heard an update on Hopkins’ suspension. Hopkins withdrew his appeal, but he also hoped the number of games that he’s suspended could lower.