Feb 13, 2022; Inglewood, CA, USA; Los Angeles Rams tight end Kendall Blanton celebrates with the Vince Lombardi Trophy after defeating the Cincinnati Bengals during Super Bowl LVI at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Rams sign Kendall Blanton to fill TE void

The Los Angeles Rams brought back Kendall Blanton on Thursday, signing their former tight end off Kansas City’s practice squad to fill the void left by the suspension of Brycen Hopkins.

Hopkins was suspended three games by the NFL on Wednesday for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy. It left the Rams without a backup tight end to starter Tyler Higbee.

Blanton, 26, was waived by the Rams on Aug. 20 and claimed by Washington the following day. The Commanders later released him on Aug. 30 before the Chiefs signed him to their practice squad on Sept. 1.

Blanton played in 12 career games (two starts) for the Rams in 2019 and 2021, recording four catches for 37 yards. However, he caught seven passes for 75 yards and a touchdown in four postseason games for the Rams en route to their Super Bowl title last season.

–Field Level Media

Oct 28, 2021; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (10) reacts against the Green Bay Packers at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

DeAndre Hopkins ‘confused and shocked’ by positive drug test

Arizona Cardinals star receiver DeAndre Hopkins said he was “confused and shocked” after learning he tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs.

Hopkins, 29, released a statement on social media Monday night after receiving a six-game suspension from the NFL for violating the league’s policy on PEDs.

“In my 10-year NFL career, I have never tested positive for using performance enhancing drugs,” he posted on Twitter.

“To learn that my November test came back with trace elements of a banned substance, I was confused and shocked.

“I am very mindful of what I put in my body and have always taken a holistic approach, so I am working with my team to investigate how this could’ve happened. But even as careful as I have been, clearly I wasn’t careful enough. For that, I apologize to Cardinals fans, my teammates, and the entire Cardinals organization. I never want to let my team down.

“I fully intend to get to the bottom of this. As soon as I have more information I will share it.”

According to the league, Hopkins tested positive for a prohibited substance plus a diuretic or masking agent. He will be eligible to participate in training camp and preseason practices and games, and he can return to regular-season competition for the Cardinals’ seventh game of the season.

Hopkins set career lows with 42 catches for 574 yards in his second season with the Cardinals in 2021. He did catch eight touchdown passes.

A three-time All-Pro and five-time Pro Bowl selection, Hopkins missed Arizona’s last four regular season games and the playoff loss due to a knee injury.

He has 789 catches for 10,581 yards and 68 TDs in 136 games (all starts) with the Cardinals and Houston Texans (2013-19), who drafted him 27th overall in 2019.

–Field Level Media

Dec 13, 2021; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (10) reacts against the Los Angeles Rams at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

DeAndre Hopkins’ ban shifts Cardinals’ futures

The NFL’s six-game suspension of wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins led several sportsbooks to shift their futures odds for the Arizona Cardinals.

DraftKings, FanDuel, PointsBet and WynnBet told Field Level Media that the news did not impact the Cardinals’ Super Bowl odds. However, several sportsbooks did shift other futures markets.

Arizona moved from +1200 to win the NFC to +1500 at DraftKings and from +1200 to +1400 at PointsBet, where the Cardinals’ NFC West odds also lengthened from +325 to +340.

They remained +2500 to win the Super Bowl at DraftKings, PointsBet and WynnBet and +2700 at FanDuel.

The news also brought some clarity to the reason behind Arizona swinging one of the biggest trades during the first round of the draft, sending the No. 23 overall pick to the Baltimore Ravens in exchange for Marquise Brown.

With Christian Kirk signing with Jacksonville in free agency, the Cardinals’ top wide receivers are now Brown, A.J. Green and Rondale Moore, until Hopkins returns.

“DeAndre Hopkins of the Arizona Cardinals has been suspended without pay for the first six games of the 2022 regular season for violating the NFL policy on performance-enhancing substances,” an NFL spokesperson said in a statement Monday. “Hopkins is eligible to participate in all preseason practices and games. He will be allowed to return to the Cardinals’ active roster following the team’s sixth regular-season game.”

Hopkins is coming off the lowest-producing season of his career with only 42 receptions for 574 yards last season – his second in Arizona since being acquired from Houston. He did miss the final four regular-season games as well as the Cardinals’ playoff loss due to a knee injury.

Hopkins signed a two-year, $54.5 million contract extension with the Cardinals on Sept. 8, 2020. He carries a cap hit of $17.95 million in 2022 with a dead cap value of $33.8 million, per Spotrac.

Hopkins has 789 catches for 10,581 yards and 68 touchdowns in 136 career games (all starts) with the Cardinals and the Texans (2013-19), who drafted him 27th overall in 2019.

–Field Level Media

November 7, 2021; Santa Clara, California, USA; Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) smiles on the sideline during the second quarter against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Cardinals’ Kyler Murray, DeAndre Hopkins return to action

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray will return to action Sunday after missing three games with an injured left ankle.

The Cardinals (9-2) also activated wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins to face the host Chicago Bears (4-7). He also sat out the past three games due to a hamstring injury.

Both players had been listed as questionable.

Murray, 24, has completed 72.7 percent of his passes for 2,276 yards with 17 touchdowns and seven interceptions in eight starts this season. He has also rushed for 147 yards and three scores.

The No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, Murray needs 31 passing yards to reach 10,000 for his career.

Hopkins, 29, has 35 receptions for 486 yards and seven touchdowns in eight starts this season.

Inactive for Arizona were wideout Andy Isabella, quarterback Trace McSorley, cornerback Jace Whittaker and left guard Justin Pugh.

Chicago’s inactive players for the Week 13 contest included quarterback Justin Fields, running back Damien Williams, receivers Allen Robinson II and Marquise Goodwin, defensive back Teez Tabor and defensive linemen Akiem Hicks and Mario Edwards Jr.

–Field Level Media

Nov 14, 2021; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) warms up prior to the game against the Carolina Panthers at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

Cardinals QB Kyler Murray (ankle) is game-day decision vs. Seahawks

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray is a game-day decision for Sunday’s game against the Seattle Seahawks due to his left ankle injury.

It marks the third straight week in which Arizona coach Kliff Kingsbury has viewed the star quarterback in such a manner. Murray was injured during a loss to the Green Bay Packers on Oct. 28.

“He definitely progressed,” Kingsbury said. “So we want to make sure that he’s in a place where he can play his game, protect himself and do all the things, and if he can, he’ll be out there.”

Murray has struggled to rediscover “the acceleration stuff that really makes him who he is at times,” according to Kingsbury.

“He’s got to be able to use that to get away, escape trouble, the things that he does naturally and instinctively,” Kingsbury said. “So we’re still trying to get to that point.”

Murray was a leading MVP candidate before the injury. He has completed an NFL-best 72.7 percent of his passes for 2,276 yards, 17 touchdowns and seven interceptions and also has rushed for three scores.

Complicating matters this time is that backup quarterback Colt McCoy (pectoral) also is ailing. McCoy started the past two games with the Cardinals, going 1-1 in Murray’s absence.

“We’d love to have Kyler,” rookie wideout Rondale Moore said. “We love Colt. Whoever is back there, I think the plan stays the same.”

If both quarterbacks were unavailable, Chris Streveler would make his first career start. He has completed 17 of 25 passes for 141 yards, one touchdown and one interception in seven games for Arizona over the past two seasons.

One player who is definitely out is receiver DeAndre Hopkins (hamstring). It will be Hopkins’ third straight absence.

Hopkins, 29, has recorded 35 receptions for 486 receiving yards and a team-leading seven touchdowns in eight games this season.

Guard Justin Pugh (calf) also will sit out. Safety Budda Baker (heel) is expected to be available in Seattle.

–Field Level Media

Sep 12, 2021; Nashville, Tennessee, USA;  Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) celebrates his touchdown with wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (10) against the Tennessee Titans during the first half at Nissan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports

Cardinals’ Kyler Murray, DeAndre Hopkins inactive Sunday

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray and wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins both were inactive for Sunday’s game at San Francisco.

Murray missed practice all week with a left ankle injury sustained during last week’s 24-21 loss to the Green Bay Packers.

Colt McCoy, 35, makes his first start for the Cardinals (7-1) against the NFC West rival 49ers (3-4).

McCoy has played just 14 offensive snaps this season and has not attempted a pass. His most recent NFL start came in Week 14 last season for the New York Giants.

Murray, 24, has passed for 2,276 yards with 17 touchdowns and rushed for 147 yards and three scores in eight starts this season.

Hopkins sat out practices this week with a hamstring injury that limited him to 15 snaps and two catches for 66 yards against the Packers.

Hopkins, 29, has recorded team-leading totals in receptions (35), receiving yards (486) and touchdowns (seven) in eight games this season.

–Field Level Media

Nov 15, 2020; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (center) catches a Hail Mary pass for a touchdown in the closing seconds of the game against the Buffalo Bills at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Patrick Breen-USA TODAY NETWORK

Cardinals’ Hopkins earns perfect 99 in Madden 21

DeAndre Hopkins is having a good week.

Four days after he caught a Hail Mary touchdown pass to lead the Arizona Cardinals to a 32-30 win over the Buffalo Bills, the wide receiver had his rating in the Madden NFL 21 games raised to a perfect 99 on Thursday.

Hopkins previously had a 98 rating.

EA Sports’ Madden Twitter account posted, using Hopkins’ nickname, “Nuk coming down with that #99Club Chain?? Congrats @DeAndreHopkins @AZCardinals #Madden21”

The Cardinals tweeted, “Should’ve been there all along, but @DeAndreHopkins is the newest member of the #Madden21 99 Club.”

Hopkins had a 99 Madden rating last year. This year, he joins just six other players in the club: Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey, New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas, New England Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore and Los Angeles Rams defensive lineman Aaron Donald.

One downside for Hopkins on Thursday: His Cardinals lost 28-21 to the Seattle Seahawks as he was held to five catches for 51 yards and no touchdowns.

–Field Level Media

Nov 15, 2020; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (center) catches a Hail Mary pass for a touchdown in the closing seconds of the game against the Buffalo Bills at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Patrick Breen-USA TODAY NETWORK

Cardinals’ Hopkins earns perfect 99 in Madden 21

DeAndre Hopkins is having a good week.

Four days after he caught a Hail Mary touchdown pass to lead the Arizona Cardinals to a 32-30 win over the Buffalo Bills, the wide receiver had his rating in the Madden NFL 21 games raised to a perfect 99 on Thursday.

Hopkins previously had a 98 rating.

EA Sports’ Madden Twitter account posted, using Hopkins’ nickname, “Nuk coming down with that #99Club Chain?? Congrats @DeAndreHopkins @AZCardinals #Madden21”

The Cardinals tweeted, “Should’ve been there all along, but @DeAndreHopkins is the newest member of the #Madden21 99 Club.”

Hopkins had a 99 Madden rating last year. This year, he joins just six other players in the club: Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey, New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas, New England Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore and Los Angeles Rams defensive lineman Aaron Donald.

One downside for Hopkins on Thursday: His Cardinals lost 28-21 to the Seattle Seahawks as he was held to five catches for 51 yards and no touchdowns.

–Field Level Media

Nov 15, 2020; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (center) catches a Hail Mary pass for a touchdown in the closing seconds of the game against the Buffalo Bills at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Patrick Breen-USA TODAY NETWORK

Cardinals’ Hopkins earns perfect 99 in Madden 21

DeAndre Hopkins is having a good week.

Four days after he caught a Hail Mary touchdown pass to lead the Arizona Cardinals to a 32-30 win over the Buffalo Bills, the wide receiver had his rating in the Madden NFL 21 games raised to a perfect 99 on Thursday.

Hopkins previously had a 98 rating.

EA Sports’ Madden Twitter account posted, using Hopkins’ nickname, “Nuk coming down with that #99Club Chain?? Congrats @DeAndreHopkins @AZCardinals #Madden21”

The Cardinals tweeted, “Should’ve been there all along, but @DeAndreHopkins is the newest member of the #Madden21 99 Club.”

Hopkins had a 99 Madden rating last year. This year, he joins just six other players in the club: Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey, New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas, New England Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore and Los Angeles Rams defensive lineman Aaron Donald.

One downside for Hopkins on Thursday: His Cardinals lost 28-21 to the Seattle Seahawks as he was held to five catches for 51 yards and no touchdowns.

–Field Level Media

Nov 15, 2020; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (center) catches a Hail Mary pass for a touchdown in the closing seconds of the game against the Buffalo Bills at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Patrick Breen-USA TODAY NETWORK

Cardinals’ Hopkins earns perfect 99 in Madden 21

DeAndre Hopkins is having a good week.

Four days after he caught a Hail Mary touchdown pass to lead the Arizona Cardinals to a 32-30 win over the Buffalo Bills, the wide receiver had his rating in the Madden NFL 21 games raised to a perfect 99 on Thursday.

Hopkins previously had a 98 rating.

EA Sports’ Madden Twitter account posted, using Hopkins’ nickname, “Nuk coming down with that #99Club Chain?? Congrats @DeAndreHopkins @AZCardinals #Madden21”

The Cardinals tweeted, “Should’ve been there all along, but @DeAndreHopkins is the newest member of the #Madden21 99 Club.”

Hopkins had a 99 Madden rating last year. This year, he joins just six other players in the club: Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey, New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas, New England Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore and Los Angeles Rams defensive lineman Aaron Donald.

One downside for Hopkins on Thursday: His Cardinals lost 28-21 to the Seattle Seahawks as he was held to five catches for 51 yards and no touchdowns.

–Field Level Media