The NFL suspended the cornerback six games to open the 2019 season for violating the NFL's performance-enhancing drug policy, the league announced Thursday.
The six-game suspension on a player's first violation stems from a positive test plus an attempt to manipulate or mask the result, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported.
"Patrick recognizes how disappointing this is for everyone in the organization as well as our fans. As we all do, he understands that regardless of intent he is ultimately responsible for everything he puts in his body," the Cardinals said in a statement. "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."
The suspension will represent the first games missed during Peterson's nine-year career.
It's also a massive blow to what was setting up as a potential under-the-radar defense in the desert for new coach Kliff Kingsbury and D-coordinator Vance Joseph. The offseason addition of Terrell Suggs alongside Pro Bowler Chandler Jones up front, Haason Reddick on the second level, safety Budda Baker, and free-agent pickups Robert Alford and Tramaine Brock alongside Peterson at corner made a solid base for the Cardinals.
Peterson's suspension for the opening six games puts pressure on second-round rookie Byron Murphy to help fill some massive shoes out of the gate.
The 28-year-old Peterson has skipped voluntary workouts this offseason amid speculation he was unhappy with the organization. It turns out a suspension was on the horizon.
The ban of an All-Pro defender continues what has been a wild and sometimes tumultuous offseason for Arizona.