DeAndre Hopkins is at the Super Bowl but not in the Super Bowl, and that's a problem for him.
The Cardinals wide receiver, on Radio Row this week and making an appearance on Sirius XM NFL Radio on Thursday, said his rehab after MCL surgery is ahead of schedule (he likely wouldn't have made it back even if the Cardinals had made it this far). But it has stuck with him that he was sidelined for a good portion of the season.
"It's something I am not happy with, but that's life, man," Hopkins told hosts Bruce Murray and Rich Gannon.
"I wish I could've helped the guys get to the Super Bowl this year -- that was more hurtful than the injury itself."
Hopkins missed seven regular season games with first a hamstring and then the knee injury, as well as the playoff game. He had only missed two games total the entirety of his career up until 2021.
"That was probably one of the worst feelings I've had since playing in the NFL," Hopkins said. "Knowing your team needs you to get to where they need to get to, I was helpless. Sometimes I didn't want to be around the facility. Sometimes I was like, 'Man, I don't know if I want to be around it just because I care so much about it.' "
Hopkins finished with 42 receptions in 10 games, for 572 yards and a team-leading eight receiving touchdowns. The Cardinals' offense clearly suffered without him in the lineup, both because he couldn't make plays and because he couldn't draw the defense's attention away from other potential targets.
"I don't want to sit here and act like I have the answer for it, because I don't," Hopkins said. "What could help us get to the next step is everybody being on the same page."
Gannon emphasized the latter point, specifically referring to the times it didn't seem like quarterback Kyler Murray and receiver A.J. Green were in sync, and added that overall details hampered the offense. Hopkins said he agreed with the analysis.
"It takes somebody to take over," Hopkins said. "It takes one person to take over, to be like, OK,we've got to do this, this cannot happen again.' It's little things like that, things that can't happen over and over."
Hopkins was also asked about Murray's decision to take off all but two of the photos on the QB's Instagram page.
"The only thing I can think is he wanted to show off some new outfits for the upcoming season and he didn't want you guys to look at the old stuff," Hopkins deadpanned.