Patrick Peterson’s latest entry into the past year’s strange saga only leads to the belief there is tension between he and the Arizona Cardinals.
His midseason trade request in 2018 and walk-back was odd. Then came his absence at voluntary mini-camp before the latest troubling news.
Peterson was suspended six games Thursday for violating the NFL’s PED rules, and according to multiple sources of 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station’s John Gambadoro, it is related to his unhappiness that was reported at the time of the Pro Bowler not attending voluntary mini-camp in late-April.
Adding to the friction between star cornerback and team, Peterson said at a charity event on Thursday — the same day his suspension was revealed — that he was disappointed the news leaked at the time it did. He issued an apology and said he hoped to move forward.
Here is the full timeline of Peterson’s dramatic past several months.
Oct. 22, 2018
Arizona was coming off a Thursday Night Football loss to the Denver Broncos, a 45-10 defeat that left the team 1-6 and reeling. The Cardinals fired offensive coordinator Mike McCoy the next day, but that news wasn’t the biggest headline of the week.
Four days after the loss and eight days before the trade deadline on Oct. 30, Adam Schefter of ESPN broke the news that Peterson requested a trade.
Later that Monday, after practice, then-head coach Steve Wilks said he had not spoken to Peterson about any discontent and that the corner had practiced well. Wilks added the team was not trading Peterson.
Oct. 23, 2018
Bryant McFadden, Peterson’s cousin and a former NFL defensive back who works as an analyst for CBS Sports, told Doug & Wolf on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station that Peterson would continue to fight for Arizona despite the trade requests.
Several teams were interested in trading for him, McFadden added.
“From the team standpoint, they have to understand the business side of things,” McFadden said of the Cardinals. “This is not about a contract, this is not about a player wanting more money. This is about a player that wants to be a part of something that could be potentially special.”
Oct. 24, 2018
Two days after news of Peterson’s trade request broke, he addressed the story with a statement on Twitter.
“I’ve been incredibly frustrated with how the season has gone,” he wrote. “But my energy is 100% focused on being part of the solution and helping us turn this around. I’ve never shied away from a challenge before and I’m not starting now. I have always given my all to the Cardinals organization, my teammates and fans. That is what I intend to do for the years to come. I am an Arizona Cardinal, and my focus is on this weeks game.”
It was soon reported that Peterson met with Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill and general manager Steve Keim to address his issues with the direction of the team.
And speaking with reporters in person soon after that, Peterson said the trade request was behind him.
Nov. 8, 2018
It appeared that Peterson’s discontent was all in the past when Larry Fitzgerald, during a locker room reporter scrum, was being harassed by Peterson during interviews.
The wide receiver quickly quieted his friend and teammate, breaking off from answering a question to take a friendly jab at Peterson.
“Pat, what’d you say? You wanted to be traded? I didn’t hear what you said over there,” Fitzgerald yelled that Thursday. “Oh, OK, I thought that’s what I heard. It’s not Tuesday though.”
Nov. 29, 2018
Former NFL star Deion Sanders re-ignited the past Peterson drama by saying on ESPN’s First Take that he didn’t think Peterson wanted to remain in the desert. Sanders believed that Peterson still wanted to “escape.”
“Trust me. I know,” Sanders added.
Peterson said later that afternoon that he couldn’t control what was coming out of Sanders’ mouth, adding he wanted to follow in Fitzgerald’s footsteps.
“He’s been here forever, 15 years, and been a cornerstone of this Arizona Cardinals organization. I feel like I’m next in line. We’ll see what happens,” Peterson said.
“When I got picked fifth overall, (winning a championship is) something I wanted to bring to this city. That’s still my goal, that’s still the end result I’m looking for here as an Arizona Cardinal.”
Dec. 18, 2018
Peterson is selected to his eighth Pro Bowl in his eighth NFL season.
Jan. 30, 2019
Golfing at the Waste Management Phoenix Open Pro Am, Peterson grabbed a microphone at the infamous 16th hole and told the local crowd he was committed to staying with the Cardinals.
“I just want to apologize to everybody for asking for that trade in the middle of the season,” Peterson said. “I’m here to stay, baby.”
Before pleasing the crowd with the good news, Peterson expressed excitement about playing in new defensive coordinator Vance Joseph’s 3-4 defense that is expected to call for heavy press coverage.
Peterson had just come off a year playing more zone coverage in the scheme deployed by first-year head coach Steve Wilks.
Feb. 12, 2019
As then-Steeler Antonio Brown began publicly acknowledging he wanted out of Pittsburgh, Peterson tweeted at the disgruntled receiver, telling Brown to “Hit my line.” It came across that Peterson was suggesting that Brown should join him in Arizona.
Brown soon after was dealt to the Oakland Raiders.
April 9, 2019
Peterson was present for the second day of the Cardinals’ voluntary offseason conditioning workouts, the only day open to reporters.
April 22, 2019
Peterson scrubbed his social media profile photos of Cardinals logos and began to post a series of cryptic messages on Instagram.
April 23, 2019
The cornerback continued his series of Instagram posts. One included the caption, “My boys told me to watch out for the snakes in the long grass! #savageSZN.”
Within hours of that, reports surfaced that Peterson would not attend voluntary veteran mini-camp. Indeed, he was not present.
“It’s voluntary,” Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury said. “I communicated with Patrick and, you know, we know where he’s at, we know what’s going on. Kind of a conversation to keep between ourselves.”
“I don’t know if it’s disappointing,” Kingsbury added. “If he hadn’t communicated, and we didn’t know what was going on, I think that’d be a different matter.”
May 16, 2019
Peterson was suspended six games for violating the NFL’s PED policy.
It was soon revealed the suspension was related to a contract dispute — Peterson hoped the team would help him restructure his contract to save money, according to Gambadoro.
At his charity event that Thursday evening, Peterson issued an apology.
“That’s why this is very, very hard for me because I’ve obviously never been in this situation and never wanted to have my name attached to anything like this,” he said. “I’m looking to move forward and put this behind me.”