DeAndre Hopkins won't be on the field for the Arizona Cardinals when the 2022 season gets underway, and not for some time thereafter, either. The five-time All-Pro wide receiver is set to serve a six-game NFL suspension for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing substances and, as such, the team will be without one of the best wideouts in football until its Week 7 bout with the New Orleans Saints.
For his part, Hopkins is confident others at the position will step up in his absence.
"I've been good -- recovering, healing -- but unfortunately, I've gotta miss these games," Hopkins told Channel 12 News in Arizona. "You know, it is what it is, but the team will be ready, and I'll be ready when I'm up."
One of those who'll be looked upon to immediately carry the load is Marquise "Hollywood" Brown, acquired by the Cardinals when the club stunned the entire league in a draft day trade with the Baltimore Ravens -- a deal that immediately became that much more valuable following news of Hopkins' suspension. But, for Hopkins, it's about holding out hope he can somehow get the NFL to reduce his six-game ban before the season gets underway, going on to explain what caused the violation in the first place.
"... We're still doing some research before the season starts and, hopefully, we can get the games down a little bit," said the five-time Pro Bowler. "It wasn't on me. I'm a natural. I'm pretty much a natural path kind of person, man.
"[The substance] was called Ostarine, and there was 0.1% of it found in my system. And if you know what that is, it's a contamination and not something directly taken. I don't take any supplements. I've never taken supplements. I barely take vitamins, so for something like that to happen to me, obviously I was shocked, but my team and I are still trying to figure out what's going on."
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Until/unless there's a change in his status going forward, the Cardinals will have to do without Hopkins for six games to open the season, but having successfully re-signed tight end Zach Ertz in free agency will aid as well, giving them two key weapons for quarterback Kyler Murray until Hopkins can suit up again in late October.
Hopkins is still working to shorten the wait, though.