Larry Fitzgerald’s future up in air for Cardinals’ last home game of 2018

Dec 20, 2018, 3:27 PM | Updated: Dec 22, 2018, 9:20 pm
Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald warms up before an NFL football game against the L...
Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald warms up before an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Chargers, Sunday, Nov. 25, 2018, in Carson, Calif. (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo)
(AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo)

TEMPE, Ariz. — Larry Fitzgerald remembers quarterback Kurt Warner’s victory lap back in 2010.

After a defensive touchdown scored in overtime by Karlos Dansby gave the Arizona Cardinals an NFC Wild Card win at home, Warner circled then-Unversity of Phoenix Stadium, high-fiving fans. He could feel that retirement was next, even with a road playoff game against New Orleans on deck.

Fitzgerald remembers that game, if only because Warner took his sweet time reaching the locker room.

Now that Fitzgerald could be in the same position against the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday for the Cardinals’ final home game of 2018, fans are wondering if this is the last time they can watch the future Hall of Famer play. They’ll have to keep wondering.

“I’m never going to tell you this is going to be my last day, I’m excited, honor me,” Fitzgerald said Thursday. “Those words would never come out of my mouth, ever.”

Fitzgerald hasn’t said whether team’s trajectory will influence his decision. While he has suggested individual goals aren’t a priority, he’s got few marks left to reach.

Fitzgerald has 59 receptions for 645 yards and five touchdowns this year.

He’s surpassed Terrell Owens and currently ranks second in the NFL all-time with 16,190 receiving yards. He’s not catching Jerry Rice, who sits more than 6,000 yards ahead of him.

Fitzgerald also holds the record for most catches with one team, a record he set so far this year. He even got to spike a football into the turf after a two-point conversion weeks back — a highlight for a player who copyrighted the act of tossing the ball back to the referee after big plays and scores.

Fitzgerald said he’s not discussed a contract extension with Arizona. And the receiver reiterated Thursday what he’s said most weeks when asked about whether he will retire or return for a 16th NFL season in 2019.

“No thoughts on it really,” Fitzgerald said of if the Rams game means anything. “Just another game for me.”

Cooper excited for new opportunity

Pharoh Cooper, who was claimed off the waiver wire by the Cardinals on Wednesday, didn’t know whether he would play Sunday against the team that waived him, the Rams.

He did admit, however, that being cut by Los Angeles on Tuesday caught him off guard.

Going from an 11-3 team to a 3-11 Arizona squad could be an opportunity for him to refresh his career at receiver.

“That’s kind of why I was excited,” Cooper said. “At first when I got the news, I was mad. I was upset, like, ‘Why is this happening?’ But you know, at the end of the day, I was excited to go somewhere else, showcase my skills. This could be a fresh start for my career.”

Cooper has 25 career catches for 190 yards in his three-year NFL career, none of which came this season.

A special teams Pro Bowler last season, it is more likely the Cardinals could throw him into the mix there, where there is less terminology to learn with two games left.

“Return game is kind of simple, really,” said Cooper. “You really see it on the film or the paper, see where everybody is blocking at. Really that’s just catching and running, making a play with the ball in your hands at the end of the day.”

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