Wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins is skipping the start of voluntary organized team activities with the Arizona Cardinals.
The future of the Cardinals’ No. 1 wide receiver has been the subject of much discussion since the end of the 2022 season. But Hopkins, appearing Monday on the “I Am Athlete” podcast with Brandon Marshall, said he’s in Toronto to work out because he’s at the stage of his career that he knows what’s going to benefit his body.
“I’m trying to play as long as I can so I did my research and studied some of the best people that work on the human body, and Toronto has some of the best people, so I’m up here right now, getting the body examined to where I can go out and perform my best,” he said.
New Cardinals head coach Jonathan Gannon said Monday he wasn’t worried about Hopkins’ absence, noting that OTAs are voluntary.
“I’m not worried about Hop. He’s played a long time and he’s extremely intelligent, and I think he’ll fit right in when he decides to come. But, again, it’s, you know, it’s voluntary. So that’s his decision and we’re behind it,” he said.
Asked if Hopkins had told him that he wants to remain in Arizona long term, Gannon said, “we’ve had good conversations. I’ll keep those between us, but I like Hop.”
Earlier this month, Hopkins posted video of himself working out in Arizona. Hopkins, the subject of trade rumors for most of this offseason, said not to read too much into where he works out.
“Phoenix is home,” Hopkins said. “It’s where I have been the last three years. Working out there — there’s no emphasis other than that’s where I live. It’s not me going on a campaign. It’s just me working out.”
General manager Monti Ossenfort was hired in January and said following the 2023 NFL draft that he didn’t “foresee” a trade happening when discussing Hopkins’ role with the team.
Hopkins said Monday that “understanding the business,” he’s not letting trade rumors affect him.
“I have no ego. This is a business. This is a professional sport. People have jobs to do. Obviously, there is a new regime. There’s new head coaches, new GMs. They come in and out every year on sports teams,” he said. “… Hearing rumors of me being traded or shopped around, that does nothing for me as far as making me feel some kind of way towards that team.”
Hopkins said he believes the Cardinals can offer what he wants at this stage in his career — stable management, a quarterback who “loves the game like I do” and “a great defense.”
“This is Monti’s first year as a GM, but from what I understand and talking to Monti, I think Arizona is in good hands. … Our defense is good. We have Budda Baker, Isaiah Simmons. … Kyler [Murray] is a quarterback who loves the game, but he’s injured. Right now, I’m playing with Colt McCoy, who I love. But who knows? Right now, I don’t currently have a Pro Bowl quarterback or a quarterback who I would say …”
Hopkins stopped himself at that point, perhaps so he wouldn’t say something he regretted.
Earlier in the interview, he was asked about quarterbacks he’d like to play with and mentioned the Buffalo Bills‘ Josh Allen, Philadelphia Eagles‘ Jalen Hurts, Kansas City Chiefs‘ Patrick Mahomes, Baltimore Ravens‘ Lamar Jackson, and Los Angeles Chargers‘ Justin Herbert.
Hopkins, 30, has two years and $34.36 million in base pay left on his contract. His $30.75 million cap hit for 2023 is the highest on the team, as well as among wide receivers in the NFL, and is also the seventh highest in the league among all positions.
A three-time All-Pro, Hopkins has 221 receptions for 2,696 yards and 17 touchdowns in his three seasons in Arizona.
ESPN’s Josh Weinfuss and Reuters contributed to this report.