Pitt great Larry Fitzgerald saw his 17-year tenure with the Arizona Cardinals come to an end in March, and since then, his future in the NFL has become unclear. On Friday, Fitzgerald shed some light on his status for the upcoming campaign, suggesting for the first time that he might not play in the 2021 season.
“I just don’t have the urge to play right now,” Fitzgerald told Jim Gray on the SiriusXM radio show Let’s Go! “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 and play and not be fully engaged.”
Fitzgerald said that instead of playing football, he would focus on being a radio broadcaster for the time being, as he is one of the hosts of Let’s Go! along with Tom Brady and Gray. The show is a one-hour, weekly show that airs on SiriusXM’s Mad Dog Sports Radio channel.
Prior to the revelation from Fitzgerald on Friday, the most decisive statement that had been provided on his future was that nothing had been decided as of July. And after that, Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury noted that a roster spot would be available for Fitzgerald if he chose to return, leaving the ball in the veteran wide receiver's court.
While Fitzgerald may well have been welcomed back in Arizona, he would have been met with a diminished role, as he amassed a career-low 409 receiving yards in 2020 after the Cardinals added DeAndre Hopkins, who overtook Fitzgerald as the team’s top receiver. The team has also stocked up on receivers in recent drafts, adding six since 2017, including Christian Kirk and Rondale Moore. And with Hopkins and Kirk becoming favored targets of Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray, the team seems content to move on from Fitzgerald.
If this proves to be the end for Fitzgerald, he will leave behind an impressive legacy as one of the most accomplished receivers in NFL history. The Pitt alum ranks second in career receiving yards and receptions, with 17,492 yards on 1,432 catches since his NFL debut in 2004. Only Hall of Famer Jerry Rice has posted higher totals in those categories.