Cardinals’ Larry Fitzgerald keeps focus on the field, off retirement talk
Dec 24, 2020, 5:01 PM | Updated: 5:16 pm
(Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)
Will he or won’t he?
It’s the question that is at the forefront of every Arizona Cardinals fans’ mind when the final home game of the season comes around.
While everyone from the staff to the players to the fans is wondering if this will be the year Larry Fitzgerald retires, the 37-year-old wide receiver is solely focused on what’s happening on the field.
“I haven’t really given it much thought to be honest with you,” Fitzgerald said Thursday via Zoom.
Fitzgerald scored his first touchdown of the season last week on a 14-yard pass from quarterback Kyler Murray, who is the 21st QB the receiver has caught passes from over his 17-year career.
The pass adds on as Fitz’s 121st career touchdown, the sixth-most receiving touchdowns in league history.
“I’ve never gone this many games without getting in the end zone,” he told reporters. “It’s been a unique year personally on all fronts … but it was nice to get in there and have it happen at a meaningful point of the game.”
In a year with no fans in the stands, it may seem to some like a low note for Fitzgerald to end his career now without the Red Sea cheering him on.
Head coach Kliff Kingsbury views it differently, saying fans in-person or not probably won’t make a difference in the appreciation shown to Fitz.
“I think he’s such a legendary player,” Kingsbury said. “He’s been appreciated for 17 years at the highest level and he should have. I don’t see any negativity in this if this were his last year.”
Fitzgerald has been a mainstay for the Cardinals since he was drafted by the team No. 3 overall out of Pitt in 2004.
Over his career, he has made the Pro Bowl 11 times, led the league in receptions twice (2005, 2016), recorded nine 1,000-yard seasons, earned the 2016 Walter Payton Man of the Year award and recorded 942 receiving yards in just nine career playoff games.
And with the young team building on success and the offense heating up for a push at a playoff spot, Kingsbury hopes to see the veteran back in the red and white to do it all again next season.
“I want him to play three more, four more years,” he said. “I think he has that ability, but if this is the last run, then all of us as sports fans and Arizona Cardinals fans have gotten to see one of the greatest athletes of all time. What an impact he’s had on this organization and this state.”
When asked if not having fans at his potential last home game would be disappointing, Fitzgerald simply said, “It will be nice to have fans back when it’s safe for them to be in there.”
Could this mean he’ll be returning next season to hear cheering fans yelling his name from the stands?
For now, we’ll just have to await the future Hall of Famer’s decision as we watch the home stretch of his illustrious career.