Larry Fitzgerald told new Cardinals coach Steve Wilks that he plans to play in the 2018 season, putting to rest speculation about the star wide receiver’s potential retirement. Wilks relayed the news during an appearance Thursday on KMVP radio, via azcardinals.com.
Fitzgerald turns 35 on Aug. 31, and next season will mark his 15th in the NFL, all with the Cardinals. He’s an 11-time Pro Bowler, and he continues to put up big stats. This past season, for example, he tied his own franchise record with 109 catches, and tallied 1,156 yards and six touchdowns.
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Fitzgerald signed a one-year contract extension in November worth $11 million guaranteed, but when Bruce Arians stepped down at season’s end, some wondered whether the wideout would follow his coach into retirement.
Fitzgerald decided 14 NFL seasons weren’t enough, and it’s hard to blame him. Fitzgerald, who holds every major franchise receiving record (and most of the minor ones) is still among the best receivers in the NFL. He’s caught at least 100 passes for more than 1,000 yards in each of the last three seasons.
Plus he’s due to make $11 million in 2018, the final year of his contract.
Fitzgerald didn’t provide the rationale behind his thinking, but clearly he wasn’t scared off by the prospect of playing for a new head coach, Wilks, in a different offense.
“What he represents on and off the football field is phenomenal,” Wilks said.
The Cardinals don’t have a quarterback on the roster, and there was speculation Fitzgerald wouldn’t make a decision until he knew who would be throwing him the ball this season.
Wilks said he “felt honored to know that he’s really committed to come back, understanding that we, right now, don’t have a quarterback on the roster.”