As we near the end of the offseason, where football comes to a standstill, some players are still in a state of flux regarding their careers. One of these players is future Hall of Famer Larry Fitgerald. After completing 17 seasons with the Arizona Cardinals, Minnesota native Fitzgerald remains uncertain if he will suit up for the 2021 season stating he “hasn’t decided anything yet.”
Minnesota Vikings fans would obviously love to see the team’s former ball boy come back to finish his career out in purple and gold. But why don’t we have an answer yet? Larry is a highly respected and highly valued talent that seemingly could call his own shots. So what is taking so long? Here are some possible answers to that question.
He’s Waiting out Offseason Activities to Rejoin the Cardinals
Vikings fans remember the summer of 2010 as they waited with bated breath to see if 40-year-old quarterback Brett Favre would return for one last chance at a Super Bowl. It wasn’t the first time Favre had extended his decision making process in an effort to stay away from off-season activities. The Packers are currently seeing Aaron Rodgers enjoy his off-season while younger players burn through camps. And it’s not just drama queen superstar quarterbacks. Hall of Fame level players don’t like to go through camps when they are near the end of their careers. They would rather extend their summer and rest during the offseason as they prepare their bodies for the upcoming season.
Fitzgerald could be doing something similar here as he waits out training camp to return with the Cardinals. Though he does want to return, he also doesn’t want to be bothered with going through the hassle that is NFL camps and workouts at his advanced age. He could see the Cardinals as a potential contender and look to this season as one last chance to get that elusive ring with the team he has played for his entire career.
He’s Monitoring Other Situations
Last season Fitzgerald had his fewest receptions, yards, targets, and touchdowns since he entered the league in 2004. These numbers only figure to decrease with the Cardinals adding Rondale Moore and AJ Green this offseason. While he is probably a wide receiver 3 at best, Fitzgerald could be looking at other situations around the league where he could make more of an impact in what could be his final season. Undoubtedly, he would want this move to be with a competitor.
Finding a team that provides both an opportunity to compete at the level he wants as well as an opportunity to contend might not be as simple as it seems. As the off-season plays itself out and we head into camp these opportunities might become more clear. He could be waiting for that clarity to make a decision on what situation is best for him.
This is clearly the path Viking fans are hoping for as they need a WR3 and believe themselves to be a contender. Maybe Larry sees the offseason moves that they have made and could join his hometown team to compete for a ring while fulfilling a childhood dream to play for his favorite team.
He Doesn’t Want to Take Attention Away From the Suns
Though Fitzgerald did recently say he has no idea if he will return or retire, it is likely that he already knows what he wants to do. So if he knows what he wants to do, why doesn’t he just come out and say it already? Maybe he wants to keep the attention away from himself and keep it on the Phoenix Suns, the basketball team that he is a part-owner in, as they play in their first final since 1993.
When a player the caliber of Fitzgerald retires or rejoins a team, it often dominates the sports news cycle. With players who have spent their entire careers with just one team, this tends to be even more of the case. With Fitzgerald being the soft-spoken and humble person he is, he likely is waiting for the finals to be completed before announcing his next move.
No one can tell you why Fitzgerald hasn’t made a decision yet except Fitzgerald, and I doubt we will hear that from him. These seem like the most likely reasons and odds are we will get a resolution from him sooner rather than later. Perhaps after game 6 or maybe game 7 if the Suns have it their way.