Three years ago, Larry Fitzgerald was thought to be on his farewell tour. That, of course, was not the case. The Cardinals inked the legendary wide receiver to a new one-year extension worth $11MM, tying him to the team for at least one more year.
Fitzgerald was considering retirement, but the Cardinals talked him out of it with this re-up, which included a no-trade clause. It wasn’t necessarily an easy decision for the vet, who could have left on a high note. At the time of the deal, Fitzgerald led the NFC with 60 catches and was on pace for well over 1,000 yards. No player in league history ever registered more than 100 catches and 1,000 yards in an age-34 season — Fitzgerald did it with ease.
The deal didn’t necessarily guarantee that Fitzgerald would play in 2018 — it merely put the ball in his court. Fitzgerald went on to play and suit up for every game, matching kicker Jim Bakken for the most regular season games played in Cardinals history with 234. He also captured his eleventh career Pro Bowl nod and leapfrogged tight end Tony Gonzalez for second all-time in NFL receptions, behind Jerry Rice. Fitzgerald didn’t stop there — he’s now eclipsed Randy Moss and Terrell Owens on the all-time list with 17,000+ receiving yards. Once again, only Rice (22,895) tops him.
Fitzgerald is still doing his thing at the age of 37 and he’s still not quite ready to commit to retirement. What would it take for one of the league’s all-time legends to call it quits?
“You wouldn’t see me around here anymore if [we win the Super Bowl this year],” Fitzgerald said in September. “Another catch, another touchdown, another yard is not going to make more whatever – my legacy is pretty much cemented. I just want to win a championship, I want to compete for a division title. Those are the things that are important to me.”
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.