‘He will remain a member of the Hall of Fame’

Optimism for the start of the 2022 season for the Arizona Cardinals took a serious hit with the suspension of wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins.

Still, Cardinals veteran Larry Fitzgerald doesn’t think the suspension will linger like a blight on Hopkins’ résumé.

“I don’t think so,” Fitzgerald responded when asked by TMZ if he thought Hopkins’ legacy would be tainted. “He’s still going to be a Hall of Famer. He’s got talent. He’s going to get by. He’s just a little bit of adversity and, you know, he’s a tough guy, resourceful, and he’s going to work his way up.”

The NFL announced Hopkins’ six-game suspension for violating the league’s performance-enhancing drug policy on May 2. Hopkins released a statement later that night in which he wrote that he was “confused and shockedregarding your positive test.

“In my 10-year NFL career, I have never tested positive for using performance-enhancing drugs,” Hopkins’ statement read in part. “When I found out that my November test showed trace elements of a banned substance, I was confused and shocked.

“I’m very conscious of what I put into my body and have always taken a holistic approach, so I’m working with my team to investigate how this could have happened. But as careful as I’ve been, I clearly wasn’t. careful enough. For that, I apologize to the Cardinals fans, my teammates and the entire Cardinals organization. I never want to let my team down.”

Fitzgerald and Hopkins were Cardinals teammates for one season in 2020, the former’s last with the organization and the latter’s first.

How Hopkins responds and returns is likely to leave a lasting legacy for his career. At 28, Hopkins has three All-Pro designations and five Pro Bowl selections under his belt in nine seasons, the first seven with the Houston Texans. Along the way, he has produced 789 receptions (36th all-time), 10,581 receiving yards (42nd) and 68 touchdown receptions (T50th). To say that he is already a member of the Hall of Fame might be a premature argument.

To say it’s important to the Cardinals is not, of course.

In seven games without Hopkins in 2021, the Cardinals went 3-4.

With Hopkins gone in the future, quarterback Kyler Murray and the offense will have to lean on the recently acquired Marquise Brown, returning AJ Green and Rondale Moore at wide receiver, along with veteran Zach Ertz and rookie Trey McBride. as a tight end.

“They have some talented guys around them,” Fitzgerald said. “Obviously it’s a big blow, but I think they’ll be able to weather the storm.”

With Murray’s desire for a new contract and the drama that has unfolded over it, coupled with Hopkins being suspended, the Cardinals’ offseason has been a storm unto itself.

Arizona will start 2022 without Hopkins for the first six games, which are 11 in a row without him, since last season. Upon his return, he will be called upon to boost the Cardinals’ offense and to remind the NFL world of what a star talent he is.

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