When Patrick Peterson was suspended for six games in 2019, he was banned from the Dignity Health Training Center, period. Those were the rules. Peterson wasn't allowed to return until Monday morning of his first week back.
But in 2020, the NFL and NFLPA amended the suspension rules, and that ultimately will aid DeAndre Hopkins -- and why his surprise appearance in the locker room Wednesday when the media was on hand wasn't a surprise at all.
Appendix G of the official policy for both PED and substance of abuse addresses what a suspended player can do while suspended. Hopkins, also serving a six-game suspension, still can't play a game until Week 7 against the Saints, nor can he practice until the Monday of that week -- Oct. 17.
But after Hopkins served the first three games of the suspension, through the Rams game, he was able to get a number of privileges back:
- Return to the building
- Get treatment from team medical and athletic training staff
- Attend team meetings
- Meet on an individual basis with Kliff Kingsbury or wide receivers coach Shawn Jefferson
- Work out with strength and conditioning coaches (although it must be individually and not with teammates)
- Eat in the cafeteria
Hopkins had to petition to get these rights back, and the Cardinals had to agree. Again, he can't practice (or even watch practice) until after the Cardinals play in Seattle Week 6. But Hopkins should be in a better place to come back than Peterson was thanks to the amended policy.