Cardinals’ Larry Fitzgerald taking it 1 day at a time as retirement talk swirls
TEMPE, Ariz. — Does Larry stay or does he go?
That’s the question on the minds of every Arizona Cardinals fan, staff member, and player as the final home game of the season looms.
Everyone’s pondering Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald’s next move, but the All-Pro isn’t one to live in the future with the present still firmly surrounding him.
“It could be [my last home game], you never know, you never know, but I don’t give it much thought,” Fitzgerald said Thursday after practice. “I told you before, I stay in the moment. The career will end. When it ends, it ends. It’s not about how long you live, it’s about how well you live, honestly. That’s how I am.”
Don’t get it twisted. Fitzgerald has had thoughts of what he’s going to do when the WR decides to hang it up for good. With every passing season, Fitz gets closer to the realization of those opportunities he’s created in his mind for himself.
And it’s a whole lot bigger than the gridiron.
“I have a general idea,” Fitzgerald said. “I have to have something that’s purposeful and that is impactful to other people’s lives. Doing something that makes other people better and I can grow as well.
“Being stagnant, I love playing golf, but I’m not making the world a better place by playing it. I’m always going to play, but I need to do something that can grow.
“Weighing what I’m doing on the field and what’s required to be great at what you do on the field kinda hurts you from growing and doing what you want to do and what you need to do to kinda prepare yourself after life so it’s a delicate balance,” Fitzgerald added. “It’s a juggling act and when it gets too tiresome then you gotta make a decision.”
With a home record of 1-5-1 this season, a victory over the Cleveland Browns could build up the Cardinals’ psyche moving forward, giving the team and its young players something to build on. Strong finishes on the road against the Seattle Seahawks and the Los Angeles Rams would help stoke the fire.
Then it really comes down to decision time, with head coach Kliff Kingsbury already preparing for his pitch to Fitz.
“In the next couple of weeks before he heads to Australia or Europe or wherever he offseasons at [we’ll talk],” Kingsbury said. “You all won’t be able to find him to ask him yourselves, I know that.”
All told, Fitzgerald has caught 1,367 passes for 16,948 yards and 119 touchdowns. He trails only Jerry Rice (1,549) as the All-Time leader in receptions and yards (22,895), while sitting sixth overall in touchdowns.
Would he really call it quits this close to surpassing the Hall-of-Famer in receptions? Cornerback and friend Patrick Peterson isn’t so sure.
“I’d probably say he’s coming back if I had to guess,” Peterson said. “He’s still having fun, he’s still flying around, I know he wants to get closer to that record as he can so if I had to take a wild guess I’d say he’s coming back. He’s healthy, he looks like the same Fitz since I’ve been here since 2011.”
Some believe he stays, some believe he goes. Ultimately, it’s Larry’s decision.
But for right now, he’s deciding to focus on ending playoff hopes for the opposition, with an eye toward the future.
“Every game is important to them at this point. They win the next three games they put themselves right in the middle of the wild card playoff race. I think every game for them is a playoff game at this point,” Fitzgerald said. “It’s just as important to us because it’s our last home game and we haven’t won a game in quite a while. So this is really important for us as well.”