DeAndre Hopkins is suspended for the first six games of the 2022 NFL season for violating the NFL's performance-enhancing substance policy. However, the Arizona Cardinals wide receiver is hoping that will change.
Speaking with Channel 12 News in Arizona (h/t Patrik Walker of CBS Sports), Hopkins said he hopes the league will reduce his suspension due to "contamination."
"... We're still doing some research before the season starts and, hopefully, we can get the games down a little bit. 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."
According to NFL.com's Kevin Patra, it's unlikely that Hopkins' suspension will be reduced at this point, "as suspensions are usually announced after the appeals process is spent." Patra added that the league rules state players are responsible for what enters their bodies.
The league announced Hopkins' suspension on May 2. The wide receiver said in a statement on Twitter that a drug test he took in November contained "trace elements of a banned substance."
Hopkins has been one of the best receivers in the NFL since being selected by the Houston Texans in the first round of the 2013 draft. In addition to being a five-time Pro Bowler, he has also been named an All-Pro three times.
The Texans traded Hopkins to the Cardinals before the 2020 campaign, and he caught 115 passes for 1,407 yards and six touchdowns in 16 games in his first year in the desert.
However, he was limited to just 10 games in 2021 due to injuries and finished the season with 42 catches for 572 yards and eight touchdowns.
To make up for the loss of Hopkins, the Cardinals acquired Marquise "Hollywood" Brown from the Baltimore Ravens during the 2022 draft. The 25-year-old had a career year in 2021, catching 91 passes for 1,008 yards and six touchdowns in 16 games.
In addition to Brown, Arizona will rely on pass-catchers like A.J. Green, Rondale Moore and Zach Ertz. The team lost Christian Kirk to the Jacksonville Jaguars in free agency.
The Cardinals enter the 2022 season with high expectations after going 11-6 and finishing second in the NFC West. Arizona will aim to avenge a 34-11 loss to the Los Angeles Rams in the Wild Card Round last year.
In addition, it will be a crucial year for quarterback Kyler Murray, who has yet to receive a contract extension.
The Cardinals are slated to open the 2022 campaign on September 11 against the Kansas City Chiefs at State Farm Stadium.