Dealing Cards: Larry Fitzgerald will address future once in training camp
PHOENIX — In February, Larry Fitzgerald announced he would return to play football in 2017, thereby putting an end to the speculation and rumors regarding his future.
For a little while, anyway.
As the Arizona Cardinals continue with their organized team activities and the regular season gets closer by the day, Fitzgerald understands that since he openly considered retirement this past offseason, people will wonder if the franchise leader in receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns will soon follow through on the thought.
“Training camp I’m going to answer it one time, and I’m not even going to address it anymore,” Fitzgerald said Monday at Steak 44 ahead of the Arians Family Foundation Fundraiser Dinner. “I’m not even going to address it anymore.”
Fitzgerald, 33 years old and entering his 14th NFL season, said “yeah” a few times when asked if the constant questions about his future get annoying, though he understands why the topic comes up.
“That’s sports — everybody wants to know what the future holds and nobody knows what the future holds.
“I don’t know what it holds.”
That is the long-term future, anyway. The immediate future for Fitzgerald involves getting through OTAs and, as he said, getting into shape.
“I feel good, I feel really good,” he said of where he’s at. “I’m a little heavy right now, I’ve got to get my weight down a little bit, but I’ll do that before we get to training camp.
“But in terms of just running routes and being out there, mentally knowing what I’m doing assignment-wise, I feel really good.”
Fitzgerald added it is great to see the team’s younger receivers, like John Brown, J.J. Nelson, Chad Williams and Brittan Golden, improving their games.
A new guard
Much has been made about Jared Veldheer’s transition to the right side of the offensive line, and with good reason. However, the player lining up to his left, Evan Boehm, is going through a similar process.
A center in college, Boehm saw action in all 16 games last season as a rookie, getting time at right guard in each of the last two games of the year.
While a starting spot in 2017 is not guaranteed to be his, right now he is running with the first-team at right guard, and he feels like OTAs are going well so far.
“Just trying to get that right spot down, that right guard spot down,” he said. “Mentally I’m getting there; there’s still some technique stuff I need to be working on, but I’m getting there and every day is a learning day and I’m trying to get better each time I step out on the field.”
Chosen in the fourth round out of Missouri, Boehm sees himself as a center down the road but knows his immediate future is at right guard. He is excited about playing between Veldheer and center A.Q. Shipley, both of whom he said are smart football players and can help him prepare for this season and down the road.
That he and Veldheer are both learning new spots at the same time is not really an issue, Boehm said, because they communicate well and are continuing to improve in their new spots.
For him personally, the biggest challenge is getting the technique down.
“At center you had to know how to kick both ways, so I didn’t know how to kick in a right-handed stance,” he said. “But there’s still some more things I need to work on technique-wise at right guard, and right now that’s the biggest thing for me.”
Ask someone to find a weak spot on the Cardinals’ defense and chances are they will point to cornerback.
More specifically, cornerback after Patrick Peterson.
While the Cardinals have the six-time Pro Bowler on one side of the field, opposite him is nothing but question marks and potential.
Justin Bethel? Brandon Williams? Rudy Ford? Sojourn Shelton? Someone who is not yet on the roster?
Asked for his take on the position, Peterson said they’ll have to wait and see.
“We have guys — Justin making a lot of great turns here in OTAs, Brandon is doing the same thing,” he said. “Those guys are definitely improving from last year, but it’s all going to come down to how these guys react when balls are really coming at them in live action.
“I have the utmost confidence in those guys, but at the same time I’m not playing for them. Those guys look really, really good right now, we just have to wait and see what happens during the season.”