Another title run this season will hinge on Fitzgerald playing at a high level

The 10-time Pro Bowler led the NFL in receptions this season with 107. He also leads active receivers in career receptions with 1,125.

The Hall of Fame receiver, who sits atop the three major all-time receiving record lists Fitzgerald has scaled throughout his career, played until he was 42 and faced similar decisions — whether to retire or continue playing — during the latter part of his career. But with the aid of hindsight and experience, Rice has one wish for Fitzgerald, who announced Wednesday he’ll return for a 14th season.

During his early years in the NFL, Fitzgerald said there weren’t reasons to “bump” into his foes. These days, with all the charity events for players’ foundations, opponents often find themselves as teammates in softball, bowling, flag football and golf tournaments. Then there’s social media, which allows players to keep tabs on each other without the personal contact of text messages or phone calls.

It took Fitzgerald 14 years to be teammates with a fellow receiver named Larry. Now that there’s another, Fitzgerald joked he made sure the junior Larry knew what was expected from receivers with that first name.


There’s nothing unusual about resting old timers during games that won’t at all factor into their roster spot. The preseason is already a divisive exercise for veterans secure in their position with their teams, especially if those vets, like Carson Palmer, have dealt with early-season arm fatigue in recent years.

Ageless wonder Larry Fitzgerald is shaping up to be the absolute safest pick among middle-round wideouts in fantasy this year. Sure, he’ll be 34-years-old when the season starts, but don’t let that deter you. The dude led the entire NFL with 107 receptions last year, so he’s still got what it takes to be a wide receiver workhorse. He’s compiled 145 and 150 targets in each of the last two seasons and 100-plus catches in each.

But Fitzgerald’s career isn’t taking the same trajectory as Rice’s, mainly because Fitzgerald could be entering the final year of his career eight years younger than Rice was when retired. Fitzgerald proved last season he still was capable of producing league-leading numbers at age 33. He led the NFL with 107 catches and had more than 1,000 yards for the second straight season

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The season for the Cardinals has been over for several weeks, but a huge part of their future still hangs in the balance. As Super Bowl LI approaches and most teams are deep in planning for 2017, Arizona’s brass still don’t have an answer on whether quarterback Carson Palmer or wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald will return for 2017 or retire.

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“We’re a year older, yeah. But I look at it like we’re years younger at some spots, too,” Palmer told King. “Robert Nkemdiche will step in and play well this year on our defensive line. We’ve got some rookies who are going to play early and play well. I hear the window thing, but in this league, I think you’re either rebuilding, or you’re overly optimistic. New England? They’re going 16-0. San Francisco? They’re rebuilding. And it’s never really exactly as it seems.”

Another title run this season will hinge on Fitzgerald playing at a high level. Beyond this season, his quest for a championship will also depend on whether coach Bruce Arians and quarterback Carson Palmer will return. Arians has said his health will dictate whether he coaches beyond 2017 cheap nfl jerseys. Palmer has said he hasn’t put a number on how many years he wants to play. But Fitzgerald said Sunday he won’t let Arians’ and Palmer’s decisions influence him.

As a child growing up in Minneapolis, Fitzgerald immersed himself in anything football-related. When his father, Larry Fitzgerald Sr., a sports writer, would bring home media guides, Larry Fitzgerald Jr. would read them from cover to cover, learning about everyone inside, from the owners to the trainers.

It gave him an appreciation for the game that he still holds as he enters his 14th NFL season at age 33. When Fitzgerald spent last weekend at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, that appreciation intensified as he took in the game’s history and reconnected with the game’s greats.

There are a few things in the NFL that are more certain than wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald becoming a Hall of Famer five years after he decides to retire.

But Fitzgerald doesn’t think about it, or so he says — not even Saturday night, when he sat in the audience of the Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Canton, Ohio, watching a handful of his friends as well as former teammate Kurt Warner accept their spot in football eternity.