Arizona Cardinals wide receiver and Minnesota native Larry Fitzgerald spoke up on the NFL's suspension of Vikings running back Adrian Peterson. Fitzgerald said he thinks Peterson should be reinstated now.
A hearing on a lawsuit filed by the NFL Players Association on behalf of Peterson is scheduled for Friday in U.S. District Court.
"He's served his penalty," Fitzgerald told the Pioneer Press' Chris Tomasson on Sunday before the Super Bowl. "He deserves the opportunity to come back, and I know everybody in the league feels he's served his time."
Peterson pleaded no contest to misdemeanor assault in November following a September indictment on a felony charge of child abuse. He missed the last 15 games of the season for the Vikings after being deactivated, placed on the commissioner's exempt list, then suspended in November.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell ruled that Peterson must reapply for reinstatement, no earlier than April 15. According to the Sporting News, at that time the league will review the steps taken by Peterson following his suspension. Here is what Goodell said to Peterson in a letter at the time of the suspension.
"The timing of your potential reinstatement will be based on the results of the counseling and treatment program set forth in this decision. Under this two-step approach, the precise length of the suspension will depend on your actions. We are prepared to put in place a program that can help you succeed, but no program can succeed without your genuine and continuing engagement."
Fitzgerald, who is close friend of Peterson and makes his offseason home in Eden Prairie, thinks the NFL's suspension has gone far enough.
"He's lost millions of dollars, endorsements, all types of things," Fitzgerald told the newspaper. "How much more can a man take? He's apologized. We all make mistakes in life."
But even if Peterson is reinstated, will he return to the Vikings?
He is due to make nearly $12.75 million this season, under his current contract, but none of the money is guaranteed and he is nearing 30 years old.