The Arizona Cardinals will have a much different look in 2018 without former head coach Bruce Arians and quarterback Carson Palmer, but arguably the best player in franchise history is returning for a 15th season.
On Thursday, the Cardinals announced that Larry Fitzgerald has informed them he is not planning to retire just yet.
— Arizona Cardinals (@AZCardinals) February 15, 2018
Fitzgerald will be 35 before the start of next season, but he is coming off another extremely productive year in which he caught 109 passes for 1,156 yards and six touchdowns. He was also selected to his 11th Pro Bowl.
Last month, Fitzgerald indicated that whomever the Cardinals named as their next head coach would factor into his decision. Since he’s returning, that is a pretty good sign that he agrees with the team’s hiring of Steve Wilks.
There has been speculation that Larry Fitzgerald will be inclined to retire now that Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians and quarterback Carson Palmer have called it a career, but the star wide receiver may have one more season left in him.
In an appearance on NFL Network Sunday, Fitzgerald seemed to hint that he is planning to play in 2018. He said he’ll make a final decision within the next two weeks, but Cardinals fans have to feel good about his comments.
Asked on our @nflnetwork set by @richeisen if he’s returning, Larry Fitzgerald said he’s “excited about what the future holds.” Says he’s confident in GM Steve Keim finding the right pieces. Says he’ll make a final decision in a week or so.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) February 4, 2018
Fitzgerald will turn 35 before the start of next season, but he had yet another Pro Bowl season in 2017 despite playing with multiple quarterbacks. He caught 109 passes for 1,156 yards and six touchdowns, making it obvious that he can still compete at a high level.
Last month, Fitzgerald indicated that whomever the Cardinals named as their next head coach would factor into his decision. Since he seems pleased with the direction of the organization, it would stand to reason that he agrees with the team’s hiring of Steve Wilks.
There’s a lot of upheaval around the Arizona Cardinals this offseason, and there could be more to come.
Arizona wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald is considering retirement, and coach Bruce Arians and quarterback Carson Palmer have already called it quits. Despite that, Fitzgerald said their decisions would not impact his own choice.
Larry Fitzgerald just said on @nflnetwork that the retirements of Bruce Arians and Carson Palmer has no impact on his decision on when he decides to retire himself.
— James Palmer (@JamesPalmerTV) January 12, 2018
The 34-year-old considered retirement a year ago, when Arians and Palmer were both returning. It’s just been on his mind for a while. By his own admission, there’s a far more important factor in his thinking that could ultimately return whether he comes back or not.
Speaking Friday ahead of a golf tournament, Fitzgerald told the Golf Channel that he’s waiting to see how the team’s coaching search shakes out before making any decisions on his future.
“I don’t have a head coach right now, so there’s a lot going on,” Fitzgerald said. “I’m gonna take some time, figure it out. Our owner and president Michael Bidwill and general manager Steve Keim are out right now interviewing head coaches, so I’m interested to see what’s gonna happen. I’ll make a decision shortly after, I would imagine.”
It has been reported that Fitzgerald might not be amenable to learning a new system under a new coach. It sounds like Arizona’s decision there will have a lot of bearing on the future Hall of Famer’s decision.
Bruce Arians may not be the only key personality the Arizona Cardinals lose to retirement this offseason.
The Cardinals are still awaiting word on the fates of quarterback Carson Palmer and wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald. According to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport, Palmer is seen as a long shot to return, while Fitzgerald may not be keen on working with a new head coach.
While the #AZCardinals have clarity on Bruce Arians, they are still waiting on Larry Fitzgerald and Carson Palmer. The QB seems to be the longest shot to come back, while those who know Fitz well believe he won't want to return for a new system.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 1, 2018
Palmer broke his arm during the season and strongly considered retirement a year ago. Fitzgerald, on the other hand, has some good reasons to think long and hard about a possible return. Whoever the Cardinals bring in as the new head coach may have significant bearing on his ultimate decision.
A year ago, Larry Fitzgerald sounded like he was about ready to end his NFL career. He didn’t, and now it sounds like there may be even more football in his future.
Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported Friday that Fitzgerald is more open to a return next season for various reasons. According to Rapoport, Fitzgerald is more healthy than he was a year ago. He’s also just 563 yards from passing Terrell Owens for the second-most receiving yards in NFL history.
#AZCardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald has left himself open about returning next year. He was in the same situation last year. Would he depart a couple hundred yards shy of eclipsing TO on the all-time receiving list? pic.twitter.com/dr1GOMBQRL
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 22, 2017
Rapoport says the Cardinals believe Fitzgerald will be back in 2018, but the wide receiver is not yet committing to anything.
There may be another retirement hitting the Cardinals this offseason. Fitzgerald’s, however, sounds less likely.
New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski drew a one-game suspension on Monday for a cheap shot against the Buffalo Bills over the weekend, and at least one fellow Pro Bowler disagrees with the decision
During his usual Monday night appearance on Westwood One Radio, Arizona Cardinals wideout Larry Fitzgerald commented on Gronkowski’s punishment.
“I don’t particularly like the suspension,” said Fitzgerald. “I don’t like when the actions of one player affects his team. Taking him off the field for a complete game is going to really hurt the Patriots.
“I thought he definitely should have been fined heavily,” the veteran wideout continued. “Those kind of plays really don’t have a place in our game. I think the NFL has done a great job of emphasizing that over the last few years. I don’t agree with the one game suspension though.”
Gronkowski was suspended for a dirty after-the-play hit on Bills cornerback Tre’Davious White that wound up concussing him.
What the hell are you doing, Gronk? pic.twitter.com/mZTgJA62eU
— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) December 3, 2017
The one-game ban will be costly for both Gronkowski and the Patriots as a whole in Week 14 against the Miami Dolphins. Now we’re seeing the decision to suspend him generate some difference of opinion (even though the consensus seems to be that it was an undeniable cheap shot by Gronkowski).