Eight-time Pro Bowl cornerback Patrick Peterson of the Arizona Cardinals has been suspended for the first six games of 2019 for violating the NFL's performance-enhancing drug policy. Details of the violation have not been released, but ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that Peterson has dropped his appeal. NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported the length of the suspension -- compared to the typical four-game punishment for a PED violation -- is because the violation involved a masking agent.
Peterson, 28, has never missed a start since the Cardinals drafted him in the first round (fifth overall) in 2011, making the Pro Bowl all eight seasons and earning first-team All-Pro honours three times. The Pro Bowl streak will now end, with Peterson ineligible due to the violation. "Patrick recognizes how disappointing this is for everyone in the organization as well as our fans," the Cardinals said in a 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 would be eligible to return for the Oct. 20 road game against the New York Giants. In 128 games, Peterson has registered 387 tackles, 23 interceptions, 76 passes defensed and 12 fumble recoveries.
Peterson asked for a trade last October, but rescinded the request and later confirmed his commitment to the Cardinals. "I just want to apologize to everybody for asking for that trade in the middle of the season," Peterson said while competing in a golf tournament in Phoenix in January. "I'm here to stay, baby."
However, reports earlier this offseason said Peterson's relationship with the team has become strained, and Rapoport reported Thursday that the suspension has further complicated things. Peterson, who did not participate in Arizona's voluntary workouts last month, signed a five-year, $70 million deal with the Cardinals in 2014 and was due to make a base salary of $11 million in 2019. The suspension will cost Peterson $3.88 million.
(With inputs from agencies.)