No one would assume the Arizona Cardinals are about to wrap up an easy season.
With a loss this Sunday to the San Francisco 49ers, a team that started the season with four straight wins would finish the year losers of 11 of its last 12. The team’s collapse has left disappointment and frustration in its wake, so it would be understandable if there is some relief that the season is coming to a close and that everyone will be able to move on.
Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, for one, is not looking forward to the season coming to a close.
“Not from my point of view,” he said, noting others might feel differently. “I enjoy playing, I like the competition, I like being around my teammates.”
Fitzgerald said work is fun for him, and while the team’s struggles are certainly frustrating, he understands he’s not the only person in the world to have troubles at work.
“I’m not different than them,” he said.
Well, Fitzgerald is a little different. His “work” will go on hiatus for a bit, as the offseason will bring with it a chance to get away from a lost 2012 and remake a roster that has fallen well short of preseason goals.
Fitzgerald understands there will be roster turnover — “it’s just part of our game,” he said — but added if it was up to him everyone would be back next season. Then again, he also said roster decisions are not for him to make.
“I have personal relationships with all the guys,” he said. “The guys have families, they love doing what they’re doing. I don’t like to play that game, play the GM game. That’s not my role.”
No, Fitzgerald is out there to lead an offense that has struggled all season.
On a personal level, the Pro Bowl alternate is in the midst of one of the worst seasons of his professional career, with just 69 receptions for 785 yards and four touchdowns, and he and the Cardinals are about to use their fourth different starting quarterback of the season.
It’s a high number, but when asked how difficult it is to play with four different passers in one season, the receiver said it could be worse.
“It’s probably not as difficult as it would be to play with six,” he said. “It’s part of the game.”
Fitzgerald has long been known for his professionalism, and this season only appears to have reaffirmed that idea. In a season where it would have been easy to throw teammates under the bus or lash out to the media about the struggles of those around him, he’s maintained a calm demeanor and positive-ish outlook.
And to hear him say it, it really makes sense.
“I keep everything in perspective,” he said. “At the end of the day, for me, I’m living my dream.
“I’ve got an NFL jersey on, Arizona Cardinals on my jersey; I’m one of 1,500 men around the world that can actually say that they are playing in this league, and that’s an exclusive group and I’m fortunate to be able to do that.”