The Arizona Cardinals were hit with gut-wrenching news on May 2.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, DeAndre Hopkins has been suspended six games for violating the NFL’s Performance Enhancing Drug policy.
The latest news to Hopkins adds to an already drama-filled Cardinals offseason that started with Kyler Murray’s contract situation in January.
Schefter notes that the loss of Christian Kirk, as well as the latest Hopkins news, could be reasons why the Cardinals traded for Marquise Brown during the NFL draft.
Hopkins suffered a hamstring and MCL injury that led to the seven-time Pro Bowl selection missing seven games in 2021. The Cardinals were 3-4 in Hopkins’ absences, including their 34-11 playoff loss to the Rams.
The three-time first-team All-Pro has 157 receptions and 1,979 yards and 14 touchdowns in his two seasons in Arizona, spanning only 26 games.
Cardinals WR Room Takes Hit
Hopkins missed one game over the first eight years of his career. When his suspension is lifted after six games, he’ll have missed 13 of 15 games dating back to 2021.
The Cardinals’ wide receiver room seemed crowded after trading their first-round pick Marquise Brown, which filled a huge need after losing Kirk in free agency. The Cards’ receiving room is DeAndre Hopkins, Brown, A.J. Green, Rondale Moore, Antoine Wesley, Andy Isabella, Greg Dortch and Andre Baccellia. Isabella has been granted permission to seek a trade, but he’s still on the team currently.
Now, Hopkins won’t be present for the first six games of the 2022 season. Pro Football Focus’ Ari Meirov added that Hopkins’ appeal has been withdrawn and the suspension is now final.
NFL insider Ian Rapoport also confirms that Hopkins withdrew his appeal.
Zach Ertz, newly drafted Trey McBride and Maxx Williams are the top tight ends on the roster. There is still weaponry for Murray and coach Kliff Kingsbury.
But it’s a crushing blow to lose Hopkins, who was known for not missing games as he missed just two games in eight NFL seasons before 2021.
NFL Releases Statement
After the latest news on Hopkins, the NFL provided a statement on the matter, via NFL’s Mike Garafolo.
“DeAndre Hopkins of the Arizona Cardinals has been suspended without pay for the first six games of the 2022 regular season for violating the NFL policy on performance-enhancing substances. Hopkins is eligible to participate in all preseason practices and games.”
According to the NFL’s drug policy, a positive test resulting from an anabolic agent results in a six-game suspension. An eight-game suspension ensues if the player tries to mask, use a diuretic or manipulate a sample, which Hopkins didn’t in this case.
Neither Hopkins, the team, nor his teammates have commented on the situation yet. We’ll provide you with an update on those details.
Social Media Reacts
The NFL world reacted immediately after the news concerning Hopkins.
PHNX Cardinals reporter Bo Brack thinks Hopkins’ six-game suspension is singlehandedly worse than the team losing Chandler Jones, Christian Kirk or Chase Edmonds to free agency.
Arizona’s offense worsened dramatically after Hopkins’ injuries in 2021. Former Cardinals writer Kyle Odegard tweeted how devastating Hopkins’ six-game suspension could be.
Cardinals fans chimed in on the news. One Cardinals fan wrote how reminiscent the Hopkins’ suspension is to former Cardinals All-Pro CB Patrick Peterson’s PED suspension in 2018.
NFL analysts had their opinions on the Cardinals losing a valuable piece to their offense.
Bleacher Report’s Maurice Moton understands that while Hopkins’ absence will be felt, the Cardinals still have depth surrounding Murray.