DeAndre Hopkins back at Cardinals facility as he wraps up PED suspension
TEMPE — Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins is more than four weeks into his six-game suspension for violating the league’s performance-enhancing drug policy.
The wide receiver’s time away from the football field is soon coming to an end, made evident by his surprise appearance in the team locker room on Wednesday.
With Hopkins serving half of his suspension following Week 3, the five-time Pro Bowler can once again use the team facility, per Appendix G of the 2020 PED and substance abuse policy.
While Hopkins is back in the building, he still can’t attend or participate in group workouts, practices, regular-season games, club-sponsored community events, press conferences or other media appearances until he serves the full length of the suspension.
The wide receiver can, however, now attend team meetings, rehab on site, meet individually with Kingsbury or wide receivers coach Shawn Jefferson, get individual work in with strength and conditioning coaches and use the team cafeteria.
We’re still weeks away from the official return of D-Hop, but his presence is already being felt inside the walls of Arizona’s training facility.
“It’s been good. He brings juice,” Kingsbury said Friday. “He’s champing at the bit to get out there. I think he really has a great appreciation now for missing time last year with an injury and then these six games having to watch from afar.
“I got a feeling he’s going to show up and be on edge which will be good for us. The timing will be really good regardless of what our record is at that point, to get him back and get him in the mix and see what we can be as a team.”
Hopkins’ return couldn’t come soon enough, with the Cardinals forced to navigate a handful of injuries within the WR room, with Rondale Moore, A.J. Green, Hollywood Brown and Antoine Wesley having all been hampered with some sort of injury over the first four weeks of the season. Of the four, only Brown has managed to play in every game this season, while Moore (three), Green (one), Wesley (IR) have all missed at least one matchup in 2022.
Not only will Hopkins provide a pair of fresh hands upon his return, he’ll also force defenses to change up their game plans.
“He’s one of the top guys, has been in the league for the last eight-nine years and so when he’s out there, they definitely have to have a more concentrated effort towards him, whether it’s bracketing him or doubling, which opens up other people and opens up the run game and all sorts of things,” Kingsbury said. “He’s that time of impact player for us.”
So far this season, Brown has handled the bulk of Arizona’s No. 1 WR duties, reeling in 30 receptions (45 targets) for 339 yards, all team highs. He’s tied with tight end Zach Ertz for the team lead in receiving touchdowns with two apiece.
His connection with former college teammate and quarterback Kyler Murray continues to improve with each passing game in Kingsbury’s offense, too, with Brown accounting for 49.33% of the Cardinals’ air yards in the team’s Week 4 win over the Carolina Panthers, per Next Gen Stats.
After a 14-catch, 140-yard effort in Week 3, Brown responded the following week with six more catches for 88 yards and a touchdown.