Peterson was suspended Thursday for the first six games of the regular season due to a violation of the NFL's PED policy, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports. This is a huge surprise and an even bigger loss for the Cardinals defense, who will have to spend almost the first half of the regular season without one of the league's best defensive backs. In Peterson's absence, Arizona will now have to look to the likes of rookie Byron Murphy and veteran Tramaine Brock for more snaps at cornerback.
Peterson announced his commitment to the Cardinals for 2019 and beyond Wednesday at the Waste Management Phoenix Open Pro-Am, Kyle Odegard of the team's official site reports. "I just want to apologize to everybody for asking for that trade in the middle of the season," Peterson said. "I'm here to stay, baby." Peterson was referencing his trade request just before the deadline in late October. The rumors were quashed quickly, but with the Cardinals 1-6 at the time under new coach Steve Wilks, it was a telling vote of no confidence in the new staff and Peterson's role in the 4-3 scheme. Wilks since has been replaced by Kliff Kingsbury, whose hiring of Vance Joseph as defensive coordinator guarantees a return to the 3-4 alignment in which Peterson thrived the first seven years of his career. Peterson thus will return to facing top wide receivers in man-to-man coverage. During the aforementioned seven-year run, he averaged 10.3 passes defended and three interceptions per season, which fell off to five and two, respectively, in 2018.
Peterson missed Friday's practice with an illness and is questionable for Sunday's game against the Rams, Darren Urban of the Cardinals' official site reports. Peterson was a surprise addition to the Cardinals' final injury report and will likely take the next day or two to rest up with the hope of playing in Week 16. If the star cornerback is ultimately forced to sit out by the time Sunday's 4:05 p.m. EST kickoff rolls around, it would provide a boost to the fantasy prospects of the Rams' top downfield threat, Brandin Cooks.
Peterson released a statement Wednesday on his personal Twitter account pledging his commitment to the Cardinals amid ongoing trade speculation. "My energy is 100 percent focused on being part of the solution and helping us [the Cardinals] turn this around," the statement read. "I've never shied away from a challenge before and I'm not starting now. I am an Arizona Cardinal, and my focus is on this week's game." While the trade market for the star cornerback has been active so far, it sounds like Peterson hopes to stay put in Arizona ahead of the Oct. 30 deadline. Across the Cardinals' seven games this season, Peterson has registered 35 stops (29 solo), two interceptions, a sack and a fumble recovery.
Peterson has requested a trade, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports. Peterson surely knew his team was headed for a rebuilding campaign but probably didn't expect things to get this bad. It now looks like a multi-season project, which is a tough pill to swallow for a 28-year-old cornerback with a contract that runs through 2020. Schefter reports that the Cardinals still don't intend to trade Peterson.
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