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Body Dictates Larry Fitzgerald Decision

Posted Dec 29, 2016

Notes: Receiver won't make 2017 choice until he heals; Rucker wants to return

Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald said he wants to wait at least until February before he makes any determination about his future.

Around the beginning of February, Larry Fitzgerald said, his body begins to get back to normal and not feel the effects of the season just completed.

That isn’t unique to him, the Pro Bowl wide receiver said. That’s how most players feel.

But for Fitzgerald, it is an important time. Because even though he said again Thursday he will have no timeline on his decision whether to play in 2017 or retire, the beginning of February is a good place to start.

“Once that (season) wears off, you have a better determination – feeling – of what you want to do at that point,” Fitzgerald said. “I think the best thing is not to make any hasty decisions. That’s the process I’m going to take.”

Fitzgerald raved about fellow wide receiver Steve Smith, who said this week he is likely going to retire after the season, saying Smith was one of the greatest ever (and noting that Smith still has an 11 percent chance of returning – a nod to Smith’s comment about being 89 percent sure he was retiring.)

But Fitzgerald also said he’s not someone who will ever say he is retiring in-season or when there are games still left to be played.

“It’s not about me,” Fitzgerald said. “This is a team game. I am one of 1,600 (players in the NFL). I’ve had a great time doing it, but I will never say, ‘I’m about to do this’ and try and get some adulation. That’s not how I’m wired. (Former NBA star) Tim Duncan is more my speed.”

Fitzgerald said he won’t even be excited to win the NFL receptions crown should he do so. His 102 catches trail the Steelers’ Antonio Brown by four, but Brown is expected to rest for the playoffs Sunday and not suit up.

“He’s not playing,” Fitzgerald said. “Got to put an asterisk by it if it were to happen.”

HOMECOMING ON DECK, BUT FROSTEE ISN’T FINISHED

Quarterback Carson Palmer isn’t the only one making a return to the Los Angeles Coliseum Sunday – so too is defensive tackle Frostee Rucker. Both players starred at USC. Palmer’s last game came in 2002, when the Trojans pounded Notre Dame, 44-13, on Senior Night. Rucker’s last game there was a 66-19 obliteration of rival UCLA for the 2005 team.

“You never think you’re going to get this opportunity,” Palmer said. “You hear chatter of a team moving to L.A., but you just don’t think that it’s an in-division opponent and you’ll have an opportunity to run out of that tunnel one more time.”

Rucker, who is from the Los Angeles area, thinks it is good pro football has returned and is excited to play in the Coliseum again. The veteran lineman is also scheduled to be a free agent after the season, and is hoping to return to Arizona in 2017.

“I want to continue do this,” said Rucker, who will turn 34 at the beginning of next season. “I think I have a couple more years in my body here. I’ve still got the juice, or the sauce, as these guys call it. I don’t know. I’m out of the loop. But it’s been a good time and I just want to continue to work hard and be a leader and get the Cards some more wins.”

NKEMDICHE ADDED TO INJURY REPORT

Defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche was added to the injury report Thursday as limited after hurting his ankle. Otherwise, almost everyone was upgraded on the day.

Fitzgerald, Palmer and Rucker were all back on the field after getting rest days. Cornerback Marcus Cooper (back) remained limited, but wide receiver John Brown (sickle cell) was moved up to limited and defensive tackle Ed Stinson (illness) was back practicing full.

Tackle D.J. Humphries (concussion) remained sidelined and coach Bruce Arians already said Humphries won’t play Sunday.

The Rams did not practice and had to put out an injury report estimation. Wide receiver Kenny Britt (shoulder), tackle Rob Havenstein (ankle) and cornerback LaMarcus Joyner (ankle) were DNP. Safety Maurice Alexander (concussion) and wide receiver Michael Thomas (hip) were limited.

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