Arizona Cardinals star cornerback Patrick Peterson issued a statement and took a few questions from the media on Thursday evening, just hours after we learned that he will be suspended for the first six games of the 2019 NFL regular season for violating the league's performance-enhancing drug policy.
Speaking from his fourth annual celebrity golf tournament in the Valley, benefiting the Patrick Peterson Foundation for Success, Peterson said he regrets the timing of the announcement.
"Definitely, definitely sorry (for) what broke out today, but for the most part, I think you guys understand my character and also understand my commitment on and off the field, and also to my teammates, and also to the Arizona Cardinals organization," Peterson said. "That’s why this is apparently very, very hard for me because I've obviously never been in this situation before and never wanted to have my name attached to anything like this. But I’m looking to move forward and put this behind me.
"I want to thank my family, my teammates, the coaching staff, the Arizona Cardinals community, and also the organization. I’m looking forward to getting back Week 7. I’m going to continue to try to keep that smile on my face, and get back to being the best (defensive back) in the league."
Peterson said he was aware of the pending suspension for months and expected a formal announcement to be made next week. But ESPN's Adam Schefter broke the news of Peterson's suspension Thursday morning.
"(I'm) obviously just deeply disappointed that it had to come out today, but it did, and I’m just happy that now I can put it behind me," he said. "It’s deeply disappointing that I’m attached to something like this, but now I can put it behind me and just look forward to coming back against the New York Giants (in Week 7)."
The Cardinals issued a separate statement earlier Thursday:
"Patrick recognizes how disappointing this is for everyone in the organization as well as our fans," the Cardinals said. "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 reportedly been unhappy with the Cardinals on multiple occasions within the last year. In October, he requested a trade before announcing his commitment to the team just a few days later. Last month, he deleted all mentions of the Cardinals on his social media pages in another reported rift with team management.
John Gambadoro with Arizona Sports 98.7 FM reported Peterson's recent discontent with the team stemmed from knowing he was going to lose money due to his upcoming suspension, and the Cardinals refused to rework his contract in a way that would minimize those losses.
ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Peterson's suspension will cost him nearly $4 million. Peterson believed he could save at least $2 million with a reworked contract, according to Gambadoro.
But on Thursday, Peterson said his relationship with the Cardinals is on solid ground.
"I know you guys speculated about me erasing some pictures. I just had a lot going on, and now I want to have a new look. I want to put a lot more fashion pictures up there right now, on Instagram, to definitely promote life after football," he said. "But for the most part, our relationship is great. I had a conversation with (general manager) Steve (Keim) earlier, so I’m just looking forward to moving forward."
Peterson will miss four of the Cardinals' eight home games this season, as the Cards will host the Detroit Lions on Sept. 8, the Carolina Panthers on Sept. 22, the Seattle Seahawks on Sept. 29 and the Atlanta Falcons on Oct. 13. Peterson will also miss two road games, as the Cardinals will travel to face the Baltimore Ravens on Sept. 15 and the Cincinnati Bengals on Oct. 6.
Peterson will be eligible to return to the team on Oct. 14 and will be eligible to play in the Cardinals' game at the Giants on Oct. 20. He will also be allowed to participate in all Cardinals preseason games and practices. Go here for the Cardinals' complete 2019 schedule.
The 28-year-old Peterson was a star at LSU and was selected by the Cardinals with the fifth overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. He is a three-time First-Team All-Pro selection and has been a Pro Bowl selection in each of his eight NFL seasons.
Peterson has never missed a game as a pro.