Arizona Cardinals All-Pro cornerback Patrick Peterson has been suspended for the first six games of the 2019 regular season for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported the news Thursday morning, and the team confirmed it later in the day.
“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 has never missed a game in his NFL career. He has played in and started all 128 games of his eight-year career. Peterson would be eligible to return on Oct. 20 for a road game against the New York Giants.
An eight-time Pro Bowler, Peterson has been the subject of trade rumors for some time. His suspension might be the reason that hasn’t happened yet. As talented as Peterson is, teams likely won’t give up as much for a player set to miss over a third of a season.
The collective-bargaining agreement says a six-game suspension comes when a player tests positive for a banned substance and there’s evidence that steps were taken to manipulate results (i.e. a diuretic, masking agent or diluted sample).
The suspension will cost Peterson over $3.8 million in salary.
He can take part in training camp and preseason games, but will have to leave the club on the first day of the regular season.
Peterson apologized, said he’s known about suspension for months
Peterson apologized on Thursday night, saying that the suspension is “very, very hard” for him and that he “never wanted my name attached to anything like this.”
Peterson also said that he’s known about the impending suspension for months.
“I’m relieved that it’s out and now, like I said earlier, I can put it behind me. I can move forward,” Peterson said. “Just deeply disappointed, obviously, that I’m attached to something like this, but now I can put it behind me and I’m just looking forward to coming back against the New York Giants.”
Patrick Peterson addressing questions about the suspension, if he will be at OTAs and his relationship with the organization. pic.twitter.com/QQ3moGq9Ps
— Kyle Odegard (@Kyle_Odegard) May 17, 2019
And, despite the repeated trade rumors and the suspension, Peterson insisted that his relationship with general manager Steve Keim and the Cardinals organization is in a good place.
“For the most part, our relationship is great,” Peterson said. “I had a conversation with Steve earlier. I’m just looking forward to moving forward.”
More from Yahoo Sports: