• Brian L. Barefield

“We Are Talking About Practice” Hopkins wants the media to focus more on his attendance on game days

Photo Credit/Arizona Cardinals

And here we go again. We are talking about practice. Not the game. We are talking about practice. For those of you all wondering. Yes, I did just channel my inner NBA Hall of Fame player Allen Iverson’s famous press conference. And if we are being honest, you reread that in his voice just now. It’s ok because we do it every time, we hear sports media members complain about superstar athletes missing practices.

On Wednesday, Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins found himself in familiar territory with the media discussing practice participation this season. Hopkins has missed 18 out of the 41 practices held by the Cardinals this season and 10 of those have been rest days given to him by head coach Kliff Kingsbury and the majority of the others were due to injury or illness. Yet, Hopkins has not missed a game this season and earlier this week he secured a spot on his fifth Pro Bowl team.

Wait. Did I mention that he leads the NFL in receiving yards with 1,324 on 103 receptions? My bad.

Hopkins spoke on his weekly press conference via Zoom about all the chatter from the local media about his absence from practice this season.

“I have heard a lot of negativity about me not practicing when I first came to Arizona,” said Hopkins who was traded to the Cardinals this past off season after spending his first seven seasons with the Houston Texans. "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. 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."

Photo Credit/Arizona Cardinals

This isn’t the first time Hopkins has had to deal with criticism about his practice attendance. In an interview with Sports Illustrated earlier this year, Hopkins addressed the issue and gave the reason on why he was criticized during his time with the Houston Texans.

Hopkins told SI that a lot of the chatter stems from 2018 when he was forced to miss a lot of practice time due to an ankle injury but played in every game. He finished that season with 115 receptions and 1,572 yards and earned him All-Pro honors that season. Despite missing more practice time in 2019, Hopkins finished the 2019 season with 104 catches and 1,165 yards earning All-Pro honors again for the third consecutive season.

The superstar wide receiver ended his press conference Wednesday with a message to the local sports media outlets.

"And tell those people who say I don't practice, to come watch me play the game," said Hopkins.

Arizona currently holds the seventh seed in the NFC playoff race with an 8-6 record.

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