King: Cardinals 'Would Like' Larry Fitzgerald to Shun Retirement, Return in 2020

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistDecember 16, 2019

GLENDALE, ARIZONA - DECEMBER 15: Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald #11 of the Arizona Cardinals runs with the football after a reception against the Cleveland Browns during the first half of the NFL game at State Farm Stadium on December 15, 2019 in Glendale, Arizona.  The Cardinals defeated the Browns 38-24. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Larry Fitzgerald has flirted with retirement for years. Each time, he's returned to the Arizona Cardinals for another season.

Now, they reportedly have their fingers crossed he'll be back for at least one more year.

Peter King of NBC Sports reported the Cardinals would like Fitzgerald to come back for the 2020 campaign, though the future Hall of Famer has made no commitments.

Fitzgerald, 36, will be a free agent after this season when the one-year, $11 million deal he signed last offseason expires. Odds are the Cardinals would want him back at a reduced rate, even though his numbers are on pace to be better than they were in 2018. He has put up 67 receptions for 711 yards and three touchdowns, leading the team in the former two categories.

"You never know," Fitzgerald said Thursday of retirement. "You never know. I don't give it much thought. I told you before, I stay in the moment, man. The career will end. When it ends, it ends."

Fitzgerald moved into second on the all-time receptions list earlier this season and is currently 179 behind Jerry Rice. Passing Rice would require at least two or three more seasons, which seems unlikely at this point. Fitzgerald has said he's constantly considering what he wants to accomplish off the field against the time requirements necessary to still compete on the field at a high level.

"I'm weighing what I'm doing on the field and what's required to be great for what you do on the field," Fitzgerald said. "[That work] kind of hurts you from going to do what you need to do to prepare yourself [for after football], so there is a delicate balance."

Fitzgerald has played all 16 of his NFL seasons with the Cardinals and has been extraordinarily healthy. He's missed just six games in his entire career and is on pace for his fifth straight 16-game campaign. From a skill-set standpoint, Fitzgerald would have no trouble entering next season near the top of the Cardinals' depth chart—although they should look into investing in a deep threat to open up the field for Kyler Murray.

It's all a matter of whether Fitzgerald wants to continue putting in the work necessary to compete at a high level.