NFL Free Agency: will WR Larry Fitzgerald play in the 2021 season?

Former Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald
Former Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald

Larry Fitzgerald has already pieced together a Hall of Fame-worthy NFL career, but will we see the 17-year veteran return to the field in 2021?

The career-long Arizona Cardinal, who turned 38 years old in August, has not officially hung up the boots, but he is yet to sign for a team in 2021 after hinting that he may have lost his desire to play football.

The 2020 season was the least productive of his career, starting 13 games, recording 409 yards from 54 catches and scoring one touchdown.

The rigors of a nearly two-decade long pro football career can take their toll and it’s understandable that Larry Fitzgerald would not want to go through a grueling training camp and preseason if he can keep himself in shape using his own experience and wisdom.

The Arizona Cardinals have shown they have no hesitation in turning to a veteran if they need to, after signing the likes of long-time Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green and former Houston Texans defensive lineman J.J. Watt for the 2021 season. This means Larry Fitzgerald could still be on the team's radar, however, if he does return, could he wind up elsewhere?

Could Larry Fitzgerald suit up in a different uniform?

After being drafted by Arizona in 2004 and putting on the Cardinals jersey for 17 straight seasons, Larry Fitzgerald opened window on his current mindset while speaking to Sirius XM host Jim Gray in August.

"To be honest with you, I just don't have the urge to play right now," Larry Fitzgerald 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."

Reading between the lines, it seems like Fitzgerald is leaving his options open, potentially opening the door to play for another NFL team if the opportunity is right or if they can offer him a realistic chance of landing the biggest prize in the game, something that he has never won, a Super Bowl ring.

Larry Fitzgerald is an 11-time Pro Bowler, a first-team All Pro, twice the NFL receptions leader, twice the receiving touchdowns leader and a Walter Payton Man of the Year. He was also named to the NFL 2010s All-Decade Team and the NFL 100th Anniversary All-Time Team.

The University of Pittsburgh graduate is number two on the list of all-time receptions, number two in all-time receiving yards, number six in all-time receiving touchdowns and has the most seasons with 90+ receptions of any NFL pass-catcher.

His record of 17 straight years with 50 plus receptions may be about to come to a close – but any team with a mid-season need at wide receiver would be foolish not to consider someone with the knowledge, presence and leadership skills that Larry Fitzgerald brings to the table.

All he needs to do is prove the physical side of his game is still up to the challenge and, perhaps more importantly, find the motivation to suit up again for season number 18.

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Edited by Henno van Deventer
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