Feeling better, Larry Fitzgerald says decision on future will come ‘pretty soon’
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Larry Fitzgerald said it would take until around Feb. 1 before he would have an idea of how his body was feeling and thus, it stood to reason that the calendar turning could offer a bit more clarity to his status going forward.
Turns out, he may not even have needed that much time.
Speaking at the Special Olympics putting event at the Waste Management Phoenix Open Tuesday, Fitzgerald said he was feeling good, feeling better. His body is coming back, he added.
But is he?
“Pretty soon,” he said of when he expects to come to a decision.
In fact, Fitzgerald said he has pretty much made up his mind, but “I’m going to take a couple days, a couple weeks to figure it out and that’s going to be it.”
The Cardinals are certainly hoping the veteran Pro Bowler returns, especially after a season in which he led the NFL with 107 receptions.
Talking with the media as part of private reception to benefit the Arians Family Foundation, Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said he has talked to Fitzgerald as well as quarterback Carson Palmer, who has also reportedly been mulling retirement, every week.
“Neither one has come to a decision; it’s up to them,” Arians said. “I feel very comfortable with where they’re at and what’s going to happen. Like everybody else, got my fingers crossed.
“I think when the juices start flowing and the injuries go away they’ll both be back, but there’s nothing to confirm yet.”
Fitzgerald will be 34 when Week 1 of the 2017 season rolls around, while Palmer will turn 38 in December. Both played well in 2016, and there has been a belief the two are somewhat tied together.
The way some see it, Fitzgerald would not come back if Palmer walks away, whereas the receiver’s decision may play a role into the quarterback’s. Arians said the two are “probably” intertwined, at least in part.
But Fitzgerald, after a bit of a pause, said that’s not really the case, at least for him.
“I have to make decisions based on how I feel, but I think as a friend, I think it’s best you just let him make his own decision, do what’s best for him and his family,” he said. “I know last year with the concussion and a new baby, a lot of things go into the decision-making process.
“I don’t think it would be my place or anybody’s place to tell him what he should do or what he think he should do.”
The way Arians sees it, his veterans have to decide if they want to put in the work that comes with continuing their careers, but that once they get around their teammates and realize what they would miss if they walked away, that triggers a desire to press on.
Should both Fitzgerald and Palmer decide to retire, the general manager Steve Keim and the Cardinals would certainly have some considerable holes to fill. Palmer threw for 4,233 yards and 26 touchdowns as a 15-game starter, during a season in which Arians acknowledged the QB “got the hell beat out of him.”
Arians, who said it would be up to him to help protect Palmer better if he comes back, said the organization would like to know their intentions by the time free agency starts in March. Regardless of what they decide, there are plans in place for all scenarios.
“You have to go ahead and make plans,” he said. “We have plans for both ways — them coming back and them both retiring.
“All our options are out there. Steve and I — Steve does a great job of having a ‘ready list’ ready to go, so we have our options ready to go.”