The Arizona Cardinals beat the Tennessee Titans in Week 1, but it was weird not to see Larry Fitzgerald with the team in the season opener.
Fitzgerald, 38, was the third-overall pick in the 2004 NFL Draft, and has spent his entire career with the Cardinals. He has many accolades, including 11 Pro Bowl selections and three All-Pro honors. He even led the NFL in receptions in 2005 and 2016.
The only thing missing in Fitzgerald's resumè is the most important one: a ring. The Cardinals only reached the big game once during his 17-year career, losing to the Pittsburgh Steelers 27-23 in one of the greatest Super Bowls ever.
Since then, Arizona have only won two playoff games, and the receiver's contract with the Cardinals ended in 2020.
Fitzgerald played no part for any team in Week 1, and he recently said that he doesn't have the urge to play right now. So, is the legendary wide receiver retired?
Fitzgerald is still a free agent, and hasn't retired
Fitzgerald has said during training camps this summer that he has not felt the urge to play. He didn't say no, though, when asked about if he was just skipping training camp.
Nevertheless, he said that his desire to return to play hasn't been there. After all, it's a physical sport, and you just don't go back to the field. Preparation and griding are part of the process. Fitzgerald said in this regard:
“The desire to compete and to be part of something that is much bigger than you, it is the main reason, and obviously the pursuit of the Lombardi Trophy,” he said. “You have to be in love with the process of pursuing the Lombardi Trophy, and that’s the part that’s most important.”
“I just don’t have the urge to play right now,” he said. “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.”
Fitzgerald has not closed the door on an NFL return, but it is uncertain whether he'll ever come back. If you don't feel the urge to play, you certainly will not feel comfortable going through the entire grind.
And, frankly, Fitzgerald's return to Arizona would be detrimental to the team in a few ways. The passing offense thrived in the season opener, with Christian Kirk and Rondale Moore playing in the slot, providing more dynamic options than Fitzgerald at this point in his career.
In such a situation in the locker room, would the coach feel pressured to play him? Fitzgerald has not officially retired. However, don't expect him to come back to the game anytime soon.