DeAndre Hopkins channeled his inner Allen Iverson, ranting Wednesday about local complaints in Arizona about his practice schedule.
More than 18 years after Iverson's famous "practice" tirade, Hopkins took exception to what he said were some local reporters' criticism regarding the number of practices missed.
"Yeah, man, I've heard a lot of a lot of negativity about me not practicing when I first came to Arizona," he said, via ESPN. "I don't watch the Arizona local news and channels and the sports station, but my grandfather, he's an avid listener to everything and every single one. I think, if one of you guys say something bad about me, my grandfather, he's told me. So, I've seen all the blogs and all this stuff, I'm pretty sure some of you guys might have been in there egging it on, but I'm not gonna say any names.
"But, there's a reason that I play football and they watch. And there's a reason that people are in positions for a reason. So, I really didn't listen to it. I don't listen to it. I listen to my grandfather, and he was saying, 'Man, Arizona, they really kind of on you right now because you're not practicing and all the critics in the sports people,' but, my grandfather knows who I am, also, and he knows how productive I am on that football field. And he knew what I was going through, and the people who are giving me stuff, they don't know what I was going through or dealing with, and I don't let my news, or really what's going on with me, be publicized for the future."
According to ESPN beat reporter Josh Weinfuss, Hopkins has missed 18 of 41 practices this season. Thirteen of those have been on Wednesdays, 10 of which were for veteran days off, according to the Cardinals' injury reports.
It's commonplace for veteran stars like Hopkins to get days off during the week. To read anything into those missed days is a fool's errand.
Hopkins leads the NFL in receiving yards (1,324) and is second in receptions (103). He could become the first player since the 1970 merger to lead the NFL in receiving yards in his first season after being traded.
The Pro Bowl receiver is coming off a season-high 169 receiving yards in Week 15. He has generated nine receptions and more than 135 receiving yards in each of the last two games. With another big outing Saturday against a struggling San Francisco 49ers defense, Hopkins could join Roy Green (1984) and Woodley Lewis (1958) as the only Arizona players since 1950 with 130-plus receiving yards in three or more consecutive games.
Much like Iverson, Hopkins wants the world to know he doesn't need practice reps to perform when the lights shine bright.
"Tell those people who say I don't practice to come watch me play the game," he said.
The San Francisco 49ers and Arizona Cardinals kick off from State Farm Stadium on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. ET, airing exclusively on Amazon Prime Video.