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Cardinals’ Patrick Peterson suspended for PED violation

Arizona Cardinals' Patrick Peterson reacts during the second half the NFL football NFC Championship game against the Carolina Panthers, Sunday, Jan. 24, 2016, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Bob Leverone)

Arizona Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson has been suspended six games to begin the 2019 season due to a violation of the NFL’s performance enhancing drug policy.

The team formally announced the suspension Thursday afternoon after it was first reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

“Patrick recognizes how disappointing this is for everyone in the organization as well as our fans,” the Cardinals said in a team statement. “As we all do, he understands that regardless of intent he is ultimately responsible for everything he puts in his body. Our coaching staff and our players are now aware that we will have to play the first six games without Patrick and they understand they have to rise to the challenge that it presents.”

Peterson will be available to participate in all offseason practices and preseason practices and games. He will, however, have to sit out in the regular season until Oct. 14, after a Week 6 game against the Atlanta Falcons.

Peterson would be able to return to a game in Week 7 for an Oct. 20 away contest at the New York Giants.

Peterson has already appealed and decided to drop it, and he will lose $3,882,352 in wages, Schefter added.

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that Peterson was suspended six games — and not the standard four for a first-time offender — because his violation included a PED masking agent.

The eight-time Pro Bowler did not participate in the team’s late-April voluntary mini-camp. John Gambadoro of 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station reported at the time that Peterson was upset with the organization.

Gambadoro reported Thursday that Peterson was upset the team could not rework his contract knowing he was facing a performance-enhancing drug suspension, according to multiple sources. He knew the suspension was coming and wanted to rework his contract and avoid taking losses. Peterson believed he could have saved $2 million or more, Gambadoro added on Thursday.

The Cardinals will open voluntary organized team activities on Sunday, and it is unclear whether he will report.

Last season, Peterson recorded 54 tackles with two interceptions and five passes defensed.

Arizona will enter 2019 with veteran Robert Alford and rookie second-round pick Byron Murphy as the favorites to become starting cornerbacks, though David Amerson and Tramaine Brock are veterans who can also play cornerback or in nickel packages.

With the suspension, Peterson will miss home games against the Detroit Lions, Carolina Panthers, Seattle Seahawks and Atlanta Falcons. He will also miss road contests at the Baltimore Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals.

He has never missed a game, including 128 regular season outings and three playoff games.

Last season, Peterson requested a trade before the midseason deadline but later backed off that stance, affirming his commitment to the Cardinals this offseason.

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