Arizona Cardinals all-world wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald is known for having one of the more impeccable work ethics of any player to ever grace an NFL field. During his 17-year career, Fitzgerald has been praised for being diligent both on and off the field. But after 17 seasons, it seems like playing in Arizona may have become too much for Fitzgerald to deal with.
The Cardinals have not appeared in the postseason since 2015, although Fitzgerald continued to excel individually. Even as he entered his 30s, Fitz still had the juice to dominate opposing secondaries. From 2015-17 Fitzgerald averaged 108 receptions per season. Fitzgerald is tied in second place for the most 100 catch seasons with five.
But the days of Fitzgerald catching 100, or even 90-plus receptions in a season are long gone. Fitzgerald has recorded 75 catches once in the last three seasons and averaged just 66 per year over that time. We knew he’d entered the twilight of his career already, but now we may be seeing it as vividly as a nightmare.
Fitzgerald recently commented on his future speaking with Jim Gray on SiriusXM.
“I just don’t have the urge to play right now. I don’t know how I’ll feel in September, October, November moving forward, but I just, today, I just don’t have the urge, and
I think I have to be respectful of that. Football is not one of those games you want to walk out there and play and not be fully engaged and ready to prepare and do the things necessary that you need to do.”
If any player has earned to right to say he’s had enough, Fitzgerald is that guy. All that losing can get to a competitor like Fitzgerald. In 17 years, Fitz has been part of four postseason runs in Arizona. Fitzgerald might be most famous for his touchdown reception in Super Bowl XLIII against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Although Fitzgerald hasn’t officially announced his retirement, this seems like the direction he may be heading. The future Hall of Famer has only expressed that he doesn’t “have the urge to play right now.” That sounds awfully close to “I’m done and no longer care to play.” Maybe Fitz needs some time to think about his future and decide if it is time to hang up his cleats.
Fitzgerald may want to take the year off and return for the start of the 2022-23 season. But the fact that he’ll be 38 at the end of the month makes that option far less likely.
Whether this is the end for Fitzgerald or not, he’s been a great ambassador not only for the Cardinals but for the entire National Football League. During an era where there seem to be way too many heels and not enough babyfaces, Fitzgerald has been a breath of fresh air both on and off the field.