Arizona Cardinals' Patrick Peterson notably absent from 2020 NFL Top 100 player rankings

Jeremy Cluff
Arizona Republic
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Arizona Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson has become one of the best defenders in the NFL since his rookie season in 2011.

He quickly gained the respect of fans, media and especially fellow players.

But after being suspended for violating the NFL's performance-enhancing drug policy last season, it appears that the cornerback has some work to do to regain the trust of his colleagues.

Peterson wasn't ranked in the 2020 NFL Top 100 list, which is voted on by players, for the first time since his rookie season.

The NFL Network unveiled the Top 10 players on the list on Wednesday.

Peterson broke into the rankings in his second year in 2012, at No. 55.

In 2013 he was ranked No. 33 and he climbed to No. 22 in 2014, No. 19 in 2015 and No. 18 in 2016.

In 2017, he fell to No. 19 and then went to No. 23 in 2018 before going to No. 46 in 2019.

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The pressure on Peterson to return to his pre-suspension level of play appears to be growing.

Earlier this month,'s Adam Schein ranked Peterson No. 3 on his list of NFL players under the most pressure in the upcoming season.

"Whenever I ask cornerbacks or receivers to name the truly elite cover men in the game, Peterson's name routinely comes up," he wrote. "A Pro Bowler in each of his first eight NFL seasons, Pat Pete's built up an immense level of respect among his peers. But last year was an absolute mess. After serving a six-game suspension for violating the league's performance-enhancing drug policy, Peterson just wasn't himself upon return. While his play picked up in the final month of the season, the 29-year-old looked like a player in decline for much of his ninth NFL campaign. Now, I have Arizona as my Cinderella team in 2020. Part of my premise is that the Cardinals have three special talents on defense in Peterson, Chandler Jones and rookie Isaiah Simmons. Peterson needs to be special again -- which means playing at his Hall of Fame level -- for the Cardinals to live up to my billing."

Arizona Cardinals' Patrick Peterson walks the sideline against the Oakland Raiders in the first half during a game Nov. 18 at State Farm Stadium.

On a video conference call with reporters in May, Peterson was asked if he had something to prove to fans in the upcoming season after being suspended last season and struggling on the field when he returned to action before appearing to get back to his normal high expectations late in the season.

“I’m not really into watch-this, prove-this, but I can promise you this: This is definitely going to be a big year. Just wait and see,” Peterson said. “To whoever is doubting me or to whoever don’t think I can still play at a high level, just wait and see.

Peterson was one of four current members of the Cardinals named to the NFL’s All-Decade team of the 2010’s in April, joining wide receivers Larry Fitzgerald and DeAddre Hopkins and defensive end Chandler Jones, and the recognition was humbling.

“I cried when I got that because going through that season last year and obviously having the suspension and having to deal with that … I literally thought it was like a joke,” Peterson said. “I shed a year because that’s something I always envisioned myself being – one of the greatest to ever play the game.

“I think this year is going to be big for me. I’m excited. I’ve got a chip on my shoulder. It’s bigger than it’s ever been. And with this being my 10th year, I’m very optimistic. I can feel something special.

MORE:Patrick Peterson tells NFL analyst that Arizona Cardinals will make Super Bowl

One site slammed Peterson's inclusion on the All-Decade list.

Pro Football Talk wrote that Peterson should have been excluded from the team because of his PED suspension.

"Peterson’s violation should have caused the voters (the Hall of Fame selectors) to take a dimmer view of his achievements," Mike Florio wrote. "The fact that he used both a PED and a masking agent suggests that it wasn’t the first time he cheated and then tried to cover up the cheating. It’s possible, if not likely, that he had been successfully covering up PED use until the testing caught up with the masking agent and exposed the ruse.

"Was it two years? Three years? His entire career? Should Peterson get the benefit of the doubt? Arguably, he shouldn’t. Arguably, the all-decade honor should have gone to someone who hasn’t cheated and then tried to cover up the cheating.

"It’s just another example of the reaction from most fans and media to football players who use PEDs. Most people have come to accept it as part of the effort to recover from the weekly grind or otherwise compete in a sport premised on physical violence. Regardless, the players who don’t use PEDs should be upset that others with a track record of cheating and then trying to cover up the cheating receive awards for performances that, at a minimum, fall under a thick cloud of suspicion."

That cloud could have impacted Peterson's omission from the NFL Top 100.

Five of Peterson's teammates did make the NFL Top 100.

Safety Budda Baker was No. 97 and quarterback Kyler Murray was No. 90.

Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald came in at No. 69 and defensive end Chandler Jones was No. 15.

Wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins was in the Top 10.

Will Peterson be able to return to the list in 2021?

The Arizona Republic's Bob McManaman contributed to this story.

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