Where does Larry Fitzgerald rank among AZ’s longest-tenured athletes?

Jan 23, 2019, 10:49 AM | Updated: 12:18 pm
(AP Photos)...
(AP Photos)
(AP Photos)

Arizona Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald will be coming back for his 16th season in 2019, the team announced Wednesday. But just how big of a deal is 16 seasons?

Fitzgerald is the second-longest tenured athlete in Arizona sports history, measured by seasons with the Arizona team. Only Shane Doan’s 20 seasons with the Coyotes tops Fitz’s soon-to-be 16 in the desert.

Interestingly, in looking at five pro teams in the Valley (D-backs, Suns, Coyotes, Cardinals, Mercury), only one of them had a franchise leader in seasons played in Arizona who did not play all of their seasons here. The other four franchise leaders spent their entire careers in the Valley.

So let’s look at each professional team’s longest-tenured player:

Arizona Coyotes: Shane Doan, 20 seasons

Not only did Shane Doan play a whopping 21 seasons for the Coyotes/Jets franchise (20 in the Valley), but the franchise was the only one he ever played for.

He was drafted by the Winnipeg Jets, who relocated to Phoenix for Doan’s second season. From then on, Doan was a staple of the Coyotes and eventually served as their captain for 13 seasons, becoming the longest-tenured captain in the NHL at the time.

Doan is the Coyotes’ career leader in games, goals, assists, points, power play goals and game-winning goals and was captain for the deepest playoff run in Coyotes history in 2012.

Arizona Cardinals: Larry Fitzgerald, 16 seasons

Fitzgerald’s impact on the Cardinals can’t be overstated, but he also happens to be an all-time great in the league as a whole. Fitzgerald ranks third all-time in NFL history in receptions, needing only 23 more to pass Tony Gonzalez and take second place. He ranks second all-time in receiving yards and sixth all-time in receiving touchdowns.

In Arizona, Fitzgerald led the NFL in receptions and receiving touchdowns twice, was a first-team All-Pro and won NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year. He also holds Cardinals records for receptions, receiving yards, receiving touchdowns and total touchdowns.

Phoenix Mercury: Diana Taurasi, 14 seasons

Taurasi has played 431 career WNBA games, all with the Mercury, spanning from 2004 to 2018. She’s the league’s all-time leader in points (8,549), second all-time in free throw percentage (86.8) and fifth in points per game (19.8).

She was the MVP of the league in 2009, is a nine-time All-Star and averaged more than 20 points per game in seven of her 14 seasons so far.

Phoenix Suns: Alvan Adams, 13 seasons

The 6-foot-9 center/power forward Alvan Adams was a member of the Suns for all 13 years of his career, spanning from 1975 to 1988.

Adams averaged 14.1 points, 7.0 rebounds and 4.1 assists in playing 988 games in Phoenix. He’s the team’s all-time leader in games, minutes played, rebounds and steals; ranks second in points, field goals and field goal attempts; and is fourth in blocks.

Arizona Diamondbacks: Miguel Montero, 9 seasons

Catcher Miguel Montero played 1,185 games in his career, 906 of them with the D-backs. He was a two-time All-Star and hit above .280 three times, had a .763 OPS in Arizona and approached 90 RBIs in a season on two occasions.

Paul Goldschmidt, Randy Johnson and Luis Gonzalez all played eight seasons for the D-backs.

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Where does Larry Fitzgerald rank among AZ’s longest-tenured athletes?