Former Bucs HC Bruce Arians Reached Out to Larry Fitzgerald After Chris Godwin Injury

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIApril 6, 2022

Outgoing Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians holds up a cigar during an NFL football intruoductory news conference for new head coach Todd Bowles Thursday, March 31, 2022, in Tampa, Fla. Arians is moving to the front office with the team. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
AP Photo/Chris O'Meara

Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians tried to convince former Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald to join the team after wideout Chris Godwin suffered a season-ending torn ACL last December, but the 11-time Pro Bowler declined the opportunity.

Arians explained the situation during an appearance on 98.7 FM Arizona Sports' Wolf & Luke:

98.7 Arizona Sports @AZSports

Bruce Arians tried to recruit Larry Fitzgerald to play for the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Buccaneers?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Buccaneers</a> last season. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/RedSea?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#RedSea</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NFL?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NFL</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/WolfandLuke?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@WolfandLuke</a> <a href="https://t.co/v7SZ2cskk5">pic.twitter.com/v7SZ2cskk5</a>

Bob McManaman @azbobbymac

Interesting to hear Bruce Arians on Arizona Sports 98.7-FM just now on the Wolf &amp; Luke Show say he reached out to Larry Fitzgerald this past season when Chris Godwin got hurt. Fitz told him he "couldn't run two plays right now" if he tried. Thanks, but no thanks. Wow.

Fitzgerald played for the Cardinals from 2004 to 2020, and he's destined for the Pro Football Hall of Fame after a decorated career that also included 17,492 catches and 121 receiving touchdowns.

He did not re-sign with Arizona after the 2020 season, and while Fitzgerald has not officially retired, he made clear to ESPN's Josh Weinfuss in February that his playing days are over.

The Bucs' wide receiver group was in rough shape after a 9-0 loss to the New Orleans Saints on Dec. 19.

Godwin was lost for the year. Mike Evans suffered a hamstring strain and was initially considered week-to-week, per ESPN's Adam Schefter. Wideout Antonio Brown, who was dealing with a significant ankle injury, was coming off a three-game suspension for violating the NFL-NFLPA COVID-19 protocols.

Therefore, it's understandable why Arians gave an old friend a call. Arians knows Fitzgerald from their time together on the Cardinals. He was Arizona's head coach from 2013-2017 before a one-year retirement prior to his Bucs stint.

Now Arians has stepped down from coaching once again as he moves into the Tampa Bay front office. Todd Bowles, the team's ex-defensive coordinator, has been promoted to head coach.