SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Hours after the NFL officially announced Arizona Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson’s six-game suspension for violating the league’s performance-enhancing substance policy, the eight-time Pro Bowler stood on the red carpet at his foundation’s annual fundraiser and apologized and said he’s “deeply disappointed” for the situation that led to him missing the Cardinals’ first six games.
“Definitely, definitely sorry what broke out today … I think you guys understand my character and also understand my commitment on and off the field, and also to my teammates and also to the Arizona Cardinals organization,” Peterson said. “That’s why this is apparently very, very hard for me cause obviously I’ve never been in this situation before and I never wanted to have my name attached to anything like this.
“I’m looking to move forward and put this behind me. I want to thank my family, my teammates, the coaching staff, the Arizona Cardinals community and also the organization. And I’m looking forward to getting back Week 7. I’m going to continue to try to keep that smile on my face and get back to being the best DB in the league.”
Peterson gave a 139-word statement and then took questions. Reporters were threatened by his public relations team not to ask about the suspension and to keep questions on the charity event or risk the press availability ending. However, Peterson answered a variety of questions about his suspension and the timing of its announcement.
Peterson, who said he’s known about the pending suspension for months, felt the timing of the news breaking Thursday morning, followed by the official announcement from the NFL a few hours later, was “horrible.”
The plan, Peterson said, was to make the announcement next week after his annual fundraiser.
“It is what it is,” Peterson said. “It was going to come out eventually but definitely didn’t want it to come out here tonight or today.”
Peterson, however, said he felt “relieved” that the news is out so he can “put it behind me and I can move forward.”
Peterson said he talked with general manager Steve Keim and that his relationship with the Cardinals is “great.” However, Peterson hinted that he won’t be at any of the Cardinals’ voluntary organized team activities.
“Have to be a father,” Peterson said. “My wife’s a doctor. I’m the only one right now that can really take (my daughter) to school, so I have to take her to school each and every day and make sure she gets there secured and make sure she’s picked up.
“I’m still working out, doing my due diligence to make sure that I’m in shape come mandatory minicamp.”
Peterson was asked if he wanted to clarify anything about his six-game suspension.
“No, just a six-game suspension,” he said.
Chiefs’ Bieniemy — Not playcaller, but has input
ATLANTA — Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy scoffed at the idea that not being a playcaller cost him an opportunity to become a head coach after he interviewed for four head-coaching vacancies.
At this week’s NFL Quarterback Coaching Summit hosted by the NFL and Black College Football Hall of Fame, Bieniemy said he relished the opportunity to interview with the New York Jets, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Cincinnati Bengals and Miami Dolphins. Only one of the eight teams with new head coaches hired a minority, as the Dolphins selected Brian Flores.
“Here’s my response about the playcalling: coach (Andy) Reid has always done it his way, and that’s how historically he’s done it because he’s Coach Reid,” Bieniemy told ESPN. “He has a beautiful mind, and we all work hand-in-hand together. And he gives me the green light to do a number of things. I have input. I do scripts. I get the install. There are a number of things that I do.”
As Jason Reid of The Undefeated reported in January, Reid said Bieniemy had been “unbelievable” as coordinator, while MVP Patrick Mahomes called Bieniemy a “special coach” and a guy who has helped him a ton.
“Do I talk to the quarterback? Yes,” Bieniemy said. “(Reid) is reciting what he wants me to particularly tell Pat to call. So if people want to make a big deal about that, so be it. The experience that I’ve gotten, understanding how an offensive system works, the organization, how to prepare it, how to get guys going and moving in one direction for one cause, that’s what this is about.”
Although Bieniemy’s focus remains on his current duties with the Chiefs, it seems likely that he’ll receive a head-coaching opportunity based on his strong reputation. The Fritz Pollard Alliance, which oversees compliance with the Rooney Rule requiring teams to interview minority candidates, backed Bieniemy, 49, throughout the interview process.
“John Wooten and the Fritz Pollard Alliance, I thought they did a hell of a job; they gave me an opportunity,” Bieniemy said. “Obviously, Coach Reid has given me an opportunity. And I think my interviewing process went about as good as it could go.
“Also, it gave me the experience moving forward knowing that, ‘You know what, this is my first go-around. Second go-around, if I’m blessed and fortunate to be placed in that situation, I’ll be that much better.’ But as far as a head-coaching position is concerned, right now we’re focused on the season. Obviously, we want to go out and do some things that’s going to help us to continue to have success. Then if somebody wants to give me a chance, I’ll be willing, ready, and waiting for that opportunity.”
Marvin Lewis and Hue Jackson, two former black NFL head coaches, both expressed support for Bieniemy.
“In my mind, there’s no question that Eric Bieniemy deserves an opportunity to be head coach in the National Football League,” Lewis said. “I’m a very, very close friend of Andy Reid’s and for the last three years, he’s talked to me about Eric’s ability and attributes and what he has added to their offense. That’s why he elevated him to the coordinator role. Andy has recommended a number of coaches to me over the years, and he’s never been wrong.”
“Yes, Eric Bieniemy does deserve a head-coaching job,” Jackson said. “There’s no question about it. I think he’s one of the brightest, young offensive minds in the NFL. Everyone says who is the next up-and-coming guy, and he’s been that. He’s worthy of that. I mean, watch how the quarterback played in Kansas City. I just know when they talk about offense, they talk about Eric.”
Working on the offensive side of the ball should work in Bieniemy’s favor, with most teams seemingly looking for the next bright offensive mind. Bieniemy is one of two black offensive coordinators, along with Byron Leftwich of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
“I’ve been an offensive coach my whole entire life,” Bieniemy said. “People think just because you coach running backs you don’t understand the pass game. Well, when you’ve played the position, and you’re involved in coaching the position, you’ve got to make sure guys understand the entire game plan, meaning you’re very much involved in the pass game. You have to understand protections. You have to understand route concepts. You have to understand how defenses are structured going against you.
“Do we need more [minority] coaches on the offensive side of the ball? Yes. How do we go about doing that? We have to make sure there’s a plan for guys of helping guys get into that quarterback room and into quality-control positions so those guys can add that knowledge and learn how to deal with the quarterbacks, learn the language and speak it.”
Ramsey now avoids dissing QBs — ‘I’m growing’
Asked by ESPN Adam Schefter on his podcast if he wanted to evaluate the quarterbacks he will face in the 2019 season, Ramsey passed and only wanted to talk about Nick Foles, who signed a four-year contract this offseason to become the Jaguars’ new starting quarterback.
“You want to do this again, huh? I’m not going to do this again but, we do play some good quarterbacks this year, of course, but probably the quarterback I’m most excited for is Nick Foles,” Ramsey told Schefter. “I don’t have to play against him, of course. He is my teammate. He is a great teammate, the few interactions we’ve had has been great. Great man, great player as well. He has nothing to prove to anybody. He’s a Super Bowl champion, Super Bowl MVP. So, I hope he comes out here and he plays free and knows he has the support of everybody.”
But Ramsey said he’s grown since last year.
“I’m growing man, it’s Year 4 for me. It’s a different me. A lot of people think they know me, they don’t really know me. But hey, that’s OK,” he said.
Ramsey, the No. 5 overall pick in 2016, has made two Pro Bowls and was named a first-team All-Pro once in his first three seasons. He has nine interceptions and 44 pass breakups and hasn’t missed a start.
Judge OKs $24M settlement over Rams’ PSLs
ST. LOUIS — A federal judge has approved a settlement calling for the NFL’s Rams to pay up to $24 million to personal seat license holders in St. Louis.
U.S. District Judge Stephen Limbaugh Jr. approved the settlement Monday.
Several St. Louis PSL holders filed a class-action lawsuit after the team moved to Los Angeles in January 2016. Thousands of fans in St. Louis had purchased PSLs that were good for 30 seasons, which was the length of the lease at the domed stadium where the Rams played in St. Louis. Rams owner Stan Kroenke took the team to California after 21 seasons.
The lawsuit calls for PSL holders to get 30 percent of the original purchase price, a refund for the nine unused years of the seat license fee, plus damages.
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