Larry Fitzgerald: DeAndre Hopkins' PED Suspension Won't Prevent Him from Hall of Fame

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVMay 15, 2022

EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY - OCTOBER 11:  (NEW YORK DAILIES OUT)  DeAndre Hopkins #10 and Larry Fitzgerald #11 of the Arizona Cardinals in action against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium on October 11, 2020 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Cardinals defeated the Jets 30-10. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Legendary Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald doesn't believe a six-game suspension for performance-enhancing drugs will prevent current Cards wideout DeAndre Hopkins from getting into the Pro Football Hall of Fame one day.

Fitz made the proclamation during an interview with TMZ Sports this weekend:

"He'll still be a Hall of Famer," Fitzgerald said. "He's talented and he'll work through it. It's just some adversity and, you know, he's a tough guy, resourceful, and he'll work his way through it."

After the suspension was announced this month, Hopkins' brand manager, Doug Sanders, told ESPN's Adam Schefter (h/t ESPN's Josh Weinfuss) that Hopkins tested positive for "trace elements of a banned substance" in November but tested negative in the prior and subsequent months.

Hopkins also released a statement on Twitter, noting he was "confused and shocked" by the league's findings:

Deandre Hopkins @DeAndreHopkins

See you Week 7. <a href="https://t.co/rHTofEx7jK">pic.twitter.com/rHTofEx7jK</a>

Fitzgerald was Hopkins' teammate in 2020 before opting not to play in 2021. Fitzgerald told Weinfuss in February that while he doesn't plan to officially announce his retirement yet, he doesn't plan on returning to playing either.

That means the clock has started on Fitzgerald's Hall of Fame eligibility, and there is no question he will be a first-ballot Hall of Famer.

While Hopkins wasn't a slam dunk for the Hall of Fame before the PED suspension, he had at least put himself in the conversation with nine productive seasons split between the Houston Texans and Cardinals.

The 29-year-old veteran is a five-time Pro Bowler and three-time first-team All-Pro with four 100-catch seasons and six 1,000-yard receiving campaigns to his credit.

Overall, Hopkins has posted 789 receptions for 10,581 yards and 68 touchdowns in 136 regular-season games during his career.

The Cardinals acquired Hopkins in a trade with the Texans prior to the 2020 season, and he instantly delivered with one of his best seasons, recording 115 grabs for 1,407 yards and six scores.

Expectations were huge for Hopkins in 2021 since it was his second year in the offense and quarterback Kyler Murray had another year of experience under his belt, but things didn't go according to plan.

Hopkins was limited to 10 games and missed the Cardinals' playoff contest because of a torn MCL in his knee.

The expectation was that Hopkins would bounce back and be a massive contributor in 2022, but now the Cards will be without his services until Week 7 for a Thursday Night Football clash with the New Orleans Saints.

Until Hopkins returns, Marquise "Hollywood" Brown will likely serve as the Cardinals' No. 1 wideout on the heels of Arizona acquiring him and a third-round pick from the Baltimore Ravens for a first-rounder in the 2022 NFL draft.

Hopkins will provide the Cards with a huge boost when he does return, and if he can get back to playing like his usual self and continue to do so for years to come, perhaps he can put the suspension in the past and still put himself in the mix for the Hall of Fame.