The Arizona Cardinals have a plan for DeAndre Hopkins heading into the 2022 season, which will begin with the former Clemson wide receiver serving a six-game suspension for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs.
Hopkins was sidelined for seven regular season games and the Cardinals’ postseason game last season due to a hamstring and then a knee injury. He suffered a season-ending MCL injury in Week 14 in December that required surgery.
The Cardinals played it safe with Hopkins during their offseason programs as he recovers from the injury and intend to slowly bring him along when training camp begins.
“We’re trying to come up with a great plan that rolls right up to Week 7 of the season and make sure we’re smart about it,” Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury said, via ESPN.com. “But, the main thing I don’t want him to do is ramp up, make a bunch of plays in training camp, do this, practice really hard and then six weeks he’s not doing anything.”
After making the Pro Bowl each year from 2017-20 – and earning first-team All-Pro honors every year from 2017-19 – Hopkins finished the 2021 season with career lows in catches (42) and receiving yards (572) but still recorded a team-high eight receiving touchdowns.
According to ESPN, Hopkins will be on something like a pitch count in training camp and won’t practice every day as part of Arizona’s plan that could see him practice for a couple of days and then sit out, or something similar.
Kingsbury and the Cardinals want to limit the number of reps Hopkins gets, but at the same time, ensure that he gets quality work in.
“We have a good plan,” Kingsbury said. “But, he looks great. He’s excited. I know he’s frustrated he can’t play the first six but like I’ve said before, I think we’ll get the best version of them those last 11 and [it’ll] be fun to watch.”
Hopkins, who has played in the NFL for nine seasons entering this year, was running without a knee brace at the start of minicamp.
DeAndre Hopkins looks to be running without issue six months after tearing his MCL. pic.twitter.com/zW4Tiy3VHc
— Josh Weinfuss (@joshweinfuss) June 14, 2022
–Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images
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