With unclear future, Larry Fitzgerald ends 2016 as the NFL’s reception leader*
Jan 1, 2017, 5:38 PM | Updated: 7:14 pm
(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Larry Fitzgerald wanted the asterisk, so we’ll give him that.
The Cardinals receiver sat out much of the second half as Arizona piled it on the Los Angeles Rams in a 44-6 victory to cap 2016. But with the Cardinals marching to the goal line and 11:35 left in the fourth quarter, Fitzgerald re-entered the game and caught a 5-yard touchdown of much significance.
The reception, his first touchdown grab since Week 5, gave Fitzgerald his 107th reception this season. That’s most in the NFL after the leader heading into Week 17, Pittsburgh’s Antonio Brown, sat out his team’s win over the Cleveland Browns.
Because of Brown’s decision to sit out the last game, Fitzgerald said earlier in the week that his receptions title would come with an asterisk.
The 107 catches is second-most in Fitzgerald’s career after he hauled in 109 receptions last year. It’s the second time he’s led the NFL in total catches; his 103 grabs were the most in 2005.
Fitzgerald is 33 yrs, 123 days old. He’d be 3rd oldest to lead NFL in catches: MacArthur Lane (34y271d in '76) & Jerry Rice (34y71d in '96)
— Mark Dalton (@CardsMarkD) January 2, 2017
Fitzgerald entered the season finale with 102 receptions, four behind Brown, and 980 receiving yards.
The Arizona veteran eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark with a 22-yard catch on Arizona’s first drive. He closed the day with five catches for 43 yards and the score.
The receiver closes the year with 1,023 yards and six touchdowns but for the first time will finish with a per-catch average below 11.1. Fitzgerald averaged 9.6 yards per catch in 2016.
Fitzgerald now heads into an offseason of contemplating retirement. He said it could take until at least February before he decides whether to play in 2017.