Jerry Rice says Cardinals’ Fitzgerald could catch his receiving record

Oct 1, 2019, 3:13 PM
Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (11) poses with NFL hall of famer Jerry Rice after...

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (11) poses with NFL hall of famer Jerry Rice after an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks, Sunday, Sept. 29, 2019, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald has one more rung to climb before he can become the NFL’s all-time leader in catches.

On Sunday, Fitzgerald overtook Tony Gonzalez for second-most receptions in league history. Now, Jerry Rice is the only wideout ahead of the Cardinals’ legend.

Rice still has a sizable lead, but Fitzgerald’s continued production has the Hall of Famer sweating a bit.

“He has got me looking over my shoulder right now because if anybody can do it, it’s Larry Fitzgerald because of his conditioning and work ethic,” Rice said on NFL Now. “The hands on this guy are unbelievable. He doesn’t drop the football.”

Rice finished his career with 1,549 catches. Fitzgerald now has 1,326.

The Cardinal is on pace for 92 catches this season, which would put him 154 shy of first place.

Fitzgerald averages 82.9 receptions per year. He would only need two more 77-catch seasons to reach Rice, which is very possible if he stays healthy and continues to produce at a high level.

“This is year 16 for him, I played 20 years,” Rice said. “I think in the game today you’ll see players play longer.”

Fitzgerald’s game has aged well as his numbers have been better on a yearly basis over the past four years than in his previous 11.

A big key for him is staying healthy. He has not missed a game since 2014, when he sprained his MCL and missed two.

Another key for him moving forward is head coach Kliff Kingsbury’s pass-heavy offense and quarterback Kyler Murray, who has had good chemistry with the veteran wideout thus far.

Should Fitzgerald choose to play a couple of more seasons, he is in a solid situation to compete for the receptions crown.

Despite this, Rice sounded like he was secure with his legacy.

“I told him (Fitzgerald) ‘here’s the deal’,” Rice said. “If you break one of my records, I still have 36 more.”

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Jerry Rice says Cardinals’ Fitzgerald could catch his receiving record