When Arizona Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson returned from a six-game suspension in 2019 for an undisclosed violation of the NFL's performance-enhancing drug policy, it took longer for him to adjust than even he initially expected. It ended up being the first season where he did not make the Pro Bowl since entering the league in 2011.
In fact, it is the first time in his career that he did not start in an NFL game. Prior to last year, Peterson held a streak of 128 consecutive starts, which was the fifth-longest such streak among active NFL players at the time.
After appearing in the last 10 games of the season, Peterson accumulated 53 tackles (46 solo, seven assisted), seven passes defended, three tackles for loss, two interceptions, one forced fumble and a single quarterback hit.
"I'm excited for Pat," Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury told reporters Tuesday. "Last year was tough, we all know that. Everybody expects him to come back in after sitting out for two months and be Superman. It took him a few games to get his legs back underneath him. By that last month he was playing at that high level we all expect from him. He had this whole offseason to train I know he's highly motivated. He's been one of the best [defensive backs] in the history of the league when you look at what he's accomplished, so couldn't be more thrilled for him to get out there and see what he looks like this fall."
Amid a virtual offseason due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in which there was no in-person training, Peterson and the rest of the Cardinals' players had to focus on personal development and stay motivated on their own accord. With Cardinals training camp having opened Tuesday, it will be the first chance for Peterson to prove himself again.
Throughout his illustrious, All-Pro tenure, Peterson has racked up 438 tackles (395 solo), 83 passes defended, 25 interceptions, 10 tackles for loss, four quarterback hits and 19 forced fumbles (with 12 recoveries).