DeAndre Hopkins Suspended 6 Games for Violating the NFL’s PED Policy


Arizona Cardinals star wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins has been suspended six games of the 2022 season without pay by the NFL for violating the league’s policy on the use of performance-enhancing drugs.[2] The suspension comes after Hopkins tested positive for a prohibited substance plus a diuretic or masking agent to substitute, dilute, adulterate, or manipulate the test result.[3] Hopkins’s manager, Doug Sanders, commented on the matter stating that a test in November returned “trace elements of a banned substance,” but that tests in both the month before and after were negative.[4]

Hopkins released the following statement via his Twitter account (@DeAndreHopkins): “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 it in my body and have always taken a holistic approach, so I am working with my team to investigate how this could’ve happened. But even as careful as I have 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.”[5]

While Hopkins originally sought to appeal the NFL’s suspension, he has since withdrawn his appeal.[6] As a result, the suspension will keep Hopkins off the field until mid-October, allowing him to return to play in Week 7 at the earliest, or Week 8 if the Cardinals get a bye during the first six weeks of the season.

If the Cardinals knew this suspension was coming, that would add more context behind the Cardinals’ surprising trade with the Baltimore Ravens for wide receiver Marquise Brown during the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft.[7] The Cardinals sent the 23rd overall pick to Baltimore in exchange for Brown and the 100th overall pick, which was later used to select defensive lineman Myjai Sanders from the University of Cincinnati.[8] However, even with the addition of Marquise Brown, the Arizona Cardinals are a different team without DeAndre Hopkins, especially considering that the Cardinals lost their leading receiver from last season, Christian Kirk, after he signed a massive four-year, $72 million deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars in free agency earlier this year.[9]

Through the first nine seasons of his career, Hopkins has developed into one of the NFL’s premier wide receivers. A three-time first-team All-Pro and five-time Pro Bowler, Hopkins came to the Cardinals before the 2020 season via a trade from the Houston Texans and has been a huge part of the Cardinals offense since.[10] Hopkins’s receptions total in 2020 ranked second in the NFL among all wide receivers and his yardage total ranked third.[11] In his first two seasons with the Cardinals, Hopkins produced 157 receptions for 1,979 yards and 14 touchdowns.[12] However, Hopkins is coming off an injury-riddled season that led to the lowest output of his career.

Hopkins missed eight games last year due to multiple injuries. He missed three games in the middle of last season with a hamstring injury and the final four games of the regular season, plus the Cardinals’ wild-card loss to the Los Angeles Rams, after suffering an MCL injury in Week 14 that was surgically repaired in December.[13] To put that into perspective, Hopkins missed just two games in the first eight seasons of his career before missing eight last season.[14]

The Cardinals went 3-5 without Hopkins last season and scored 16 or fewer points in three of those defeats.[15] Meanwhile, the Cardinals went 8-2 in the 10 games that Hopkins played last season. But with the six regular-season game suspension, Hopkins is now on track to miss 11 straight games for the Cardinals.

Despite the suspension, Hopkins is eligible to participate in all preseason practices and preseason games.[16] But for a Cardinals team that is looking to rebound from a disappointing end to its 2021 season that began as the NFL’s last undefeated team, its 2022 season is off to a bad start. It won’t be until May 12, when the NFL schedule is released, that the Cardinals will find out exactly which games Hopkins will be missing.[17] But given Hopkins’s dynamic playmaking ability, his absence will be detrimental regardless of the opponent.

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