In an official statement released yesterday, the NFL announced that Arizona Cardinals star wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins has been suspended without pay for the first six games of the 2022 season for violations of leagues policy of barring the use performance enhancing drugs (PED). Hopkins tested positive for an unnamed, but prohibited anabolic agent.
Hopkins will be eligible for re-instatement in week seven. Until then, he will be allowed to participate with the Cardinals, and in their facilities, for off season strength/ conditioning workouts, organized team activities (OTA’s), mini-camps, the official train camp and preseason games. At the conclusion of camp, the five-time Pro Bowler and three-time All-Pro must leave and stay away from the Cards and their facilities for the first six weeks of the regular season.
Cardinals’ Pro-Bowl WR DeAndre Hopkins is being suspended six games for violating the NFL’s Performance Enhancing Drug policy, league sources tell ESPN. pic.twitter.com/hNGNX4Aegx— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) May 2, 2022
Last season, Hopkins missed seven games with multiple nagging injuries, starting with hamstring problems and culminating with a torn MCL knee injury that required surgery. In ten starts, he grabbed 42 passes for 572 yards, a 13.6 yards per catch average. The injury-plagued season was quite a step down for Hopkins, a major part of the Arizona offense and arguably, one of the top receivers in the NFL. Over his previous eight seasons, Hopkins averaged 93 receptions for 1251 yards.
It should also be reported that Hopkins has denied the charges, but apologized to Cardinals fans and his teammates and promised to get to the bottom of the positive test. According to Spotrac, he stands to lose $4.05 mil in salary.
One of Hopkins’ management team, Brand manager Doug Sanders, also weighed in.
DeAndre Hopkins’ brand manager, Doug Sanders, texted this tonight about his client, who was suspended six games earlier in the day: pic.twitter.com/gHlZMKrSQM— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) May 3, 2022
The last six months have been trying For Arizona, the late season collapse, being dominated by the Los Angeles Rams in round one of the playoffs, Hopkins’ PED incident that reportedly occurred back in November, and quarterback Kyler Murray’s grumbling about his contract. All these occurrences makes good fodder for thinking the draft day addition of Marquise Brown was more than keeping Murray placated.
Arizona’s offense has struggled without Hopkins in the lineup and Head coach Kliff Kingsbury told The Arizona Republic as much.
“The biggest thing is when we lost Hop, I didn’t do a good job schematically of adjusting some things that could have taken some pressure off of Kyler (Murray),” Kingsbury said at the Scouting Combine in February. “You lose a piece like that, you’ve got to find a way to be more creative. I’ve got to be better at that.”
The prospect of having him out for almost half a season seems to be a logical reason to add a playmaker like Brown. Last season’s top receiver, Christian Kirk, has moved on in free agency, AJ Green will be 34 years old, and Rondale Moore only averaged 8.1 yards per catch last season. For Cardinals fans, hopefully Hopkins can return to form down the stretch. By then coach cliff Kingsbury may be embedded on the hot seat, and in his three years in the desert, he is 8-17 in the final eight games of the season and playoffs.