Larry Fitzgerald finally put an end to the speculation. He’s not going to retire.
Late Wednesday night, Fitzgerald told ESPN’s Jim Trotter that he’ll return to the Cardinals for the 2017 season.
Just spoke to Larry Fitzgerald, who said he’s definitely returning in 2017 to play the final year on his contract. #Cardinals
— Jim Trotter (@JimTrotter_NFL) February 2, 2017
He told NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport that he’s coming back because he feels normal physically and still wants to win. He said something similar to Monday Morning Quarterback’sAlbert Breer.
Why is #AZCardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald returning? He says he’s feeling “back to normal” physically. His desire to win & compete still burns
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) February 2, 2017
Just heard from Larry, asked him about coming back — “Yes sir. Listen to the body, mind and heart they never lie.” https://t.co/P9kJFkc8si
— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) February 2, 2017
So, the Cardinals can relax now, because they’re not losing their best receiver. In 2016, the 33-year-old Fitzgerald snagged 107 passes for 1,023 yards and six touchdowns. Overall, he ranks third all time in receptions with 1,125. So yes, getting him back for the 2017 season is fantastic news for a team that journeyed to the NFC title game in 2015 but underachieved in 2016.
It also might be a good sign regarding Carson Palmer‘s future, which is still up in the air.
Yes , Fitz is returning for ’17 season, as @JimTrotter_NFL reports. Good sign Carson Palmer also will return
— Kent Somers (@kentsomers) February 2, 2017
In April, Fitzgerald indicated that his future would be tied to Palmer’s.
“A lot of it’s tied to Carson [Palmer] — Carson’s playing at a high level,” he said at the time, per ArizonaSports.com. “I don’t want to go through any other quarterback situations.”
Assuming Palmer, 37, joins Fitzgerald in remaining with the Cardinals through the 2017 season, we’re still likely to have the same discussion a year from now. Even Cardinals coach Bruce Arians is well aware Palmer’s NFL days are numbered.
One of his offseason objectives is to find Palmer’s successor.
Bruce Arians said finding a franchise QB is one of the Cardinals’ “main objectives in the offseason.” Wants “next guy here & ready to roll.”
— Bob McManaman (@azbobbymac) January 2, 2017
By the sound of it, though, whoever that quarterback is will have the luxury of watching and learning from both Palmer and Fitzgerald.
Source: CBS Sports Headlines / Larry Fitzgerald will play for Cardinals in 2017 rather than retire