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Did Larry Fitzgerald retire? Explaining why Cardinals WR hasn’t returned to NFL yet in 2021

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For 17 years, Larry Fitzgerald was a mainstay on the Cardinals offense. He spent every season with the team after being selected with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2004 NFL Draft out of Pitt, and he has put together a Hall of Fame career.

Fitzgerald has 1,432 career catches. He has posted 17,492 receiving yards. He has also scored 121 touchdowns. Impressively, that all came with what was largely a revolving door at the quarterback position.

Fitzgerald is certainly the best receiver that the Cardinals have ever had. But where is he now? For the first time since 2003, he isn’t gracing the Cardinals’ sideline. Instead, Arizona will career a loaded receiving corps, but one that doesn’t feature their previously longest-tenured, most beloved player.

Did Larry Fitzgerald retire? Here’s what the Arizona legend is up to right now and his thoughts about playing in the NFL again some day.

MORE: How Kliff Kingsbury went from sub-.500 college coach to NFL success

Did Larry Fitzgerald retire?

Larry Fitzgerald has not officially announced his retirement from the NFL yet. He is a free agent but he doesn’t seem to be interested in signing anywhere right now.

“I just don’t have the urge to play right now,” Fitzgerald said in an interview with Jim Gray back in late August. “I don’t know how I’ll feel in September, October, November moving forward but today, I just don’t have that urge.”

And as long as that urge to play isn’t there, Fitzgerald doesn’t plan on returning to the field. Why?

“I think I have to be respectful of that,” Fitzgerald said. “Football is not one of those games you want to walk out there and play and not be fully engaged and ready to repare and do the things necessary that you need to do.”

INJURY UPDATE: How long will J.J. Watt be out?

Could Larry Fitzgerald play in 2021?

Fitzgerald left the door open for a potential return. That’s one of the reasons that he hasn’t filed for retirement with the NFL as of this writing.

But will he eventually feel the spark and desire to play?

“I have no idea,” Fitzgerald said, per the Cardinals official website. “I’ve done this for thirty-plus years and every year I have gone into it, I’ve felt a certain way. I’ve felt the urge to go out and do it, and I just don’t feel that right now.

“I don’t know if it is going to change. But if it does, it does. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t. I’m not putting too much thought into it.”

Could a chance to win a Super Bowl change Fitzgerald’s mind? He indicated that he wants to win a Super Bowl, but he’s just not sure if he loves “the process” of getting there enough with where he’s currently at.

“The pursuit is the Lombardi Trophy, but you have to be in love with the process of pursuing the Lombardi Trophy,” Fitzgerald said. “That’s the part that’s most important.”

If Fitzgerald does eventually return, the Cardinals could welcome him back. The team has great receiving depth in DeAndre Hopkins, A.J. Green, Christian Kirk and Rondale Moore, so Fitzgerald could work back into game shape behind those guys before earning a situational role with the team.

At the same time, would he want to return for a bit role? That remains unclear.

And would the Cardinals want him after he averaged a career-worst 7.6 yards per catch last year? That’s also unclear, though they would certainly love to have him around for his leadership ability.

MORE: How acquiring veterans like A.J. Green, Zach Ertz sparked Arizona’s undefeated start

What is Larry Fitzgerald doing now?

Fitzgerald is actually working as a radio broadcast on a podcast called “Let’s Go!” alongside Tom Brady and Gray. The show focuses on trending topics from across the NFL, including the surging Bengals and Cardinals teams as well as Brady’s game against the Patriots in Foxboro.

The show also features “in-depth insightful and introspective one-on-one conversations with each of these future Hall of Famer football players,” according to its description



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