The last time we got a glimpse of Larry Fitzgerald's playoff emotions, it came via the "All or Nothing" cameras with the wide receiver quietly crying in his locker after the Cardinals were knocked around in the 2015 NFC Championship game.
It's been five seasons for Fitzgerald to get in a potential postseason appearance again, with the Cardinals knowing they have to win Sunday in Los Angeles to make the playoffs. With every offseason since the end of 2015 Fitzgerald's potential retirement a topic, he has learned to cherish such chances.
"Having the opportunity to get into the playoffs is not something I would say a player in my position can take for granted," the 37-year-old said. "It doesn't even have to do with my age, but I haven't made the playoffs a lot. If we win this would be my fifth time. That's not a lot for a 17-year career. You look around and look at guys that came into the league about the same time -- Ben Roethlisberger, Eli Manning, guys that were pretty playoff-locked for the most part in their careers.
"I appreciate having the opportunity and very thankful to be back in this position because it doesn't happen as often as I would like."
It's possible this game could be Fitzgerald's last in the NFL, if the Cardinals were to lose and he chose to retire. Retirement will be an option after the season no matter how many more games the Cards have this season.
Fitzgerald's numbers aren't what they have been in the past (54 catches, 409 yards, one touchdown and only 7.6 yards a reception), but for Fitzgerald, statistics have been of little concern the latter part of his career compared to getting here – in playoff contention, where a championship was possible.
And who knows? That carrot might be a big reason to seek out an 18th season in 2021.
"I am excited about where we are as an organization, where we can go," Fitzgerald said. "You look at the progress in just two years. We're knocking on the door of being a playoff team, Kyler made his first Pro Bowl and his ascension and how important that position is to teams in the National Football League.
"You look at everybody who has clinched at this point and they all have a quarterback playing at a very high level. I'm thankful we have a quarterback here that can do that for the next 10-to-15 years, and (we can) build around him. This is hopefully something we will be playing for for years to come here."
BANJO GOES ON COVID LIST
The Cardinals placed veteran safety Chris Banjo, who already wasn't practicing because of a hip injury, on the COVID-19 list Thursday. Going on the list could mean Banjo has tested positive or that he was in close contact with someone who has. The team cannot reveal specifics.
The Cards are expected to have safety Jalen Thompson back from an ankle injury this week.
EDMONDS REMAINS SIDELINED
Running back Chase Edmonds (hip) remained absent during the open portion of practice Thursday, as the Cardinals try to see if one of their most important offensive pieces will be available for Sunday's game.
Fitzgerald also missed practice with a groin injury, but he did not practice last week much and ultimately played.
"I mean, I'm 37, I've played a lot of games," Fitzgerald said. "I wouldn't say I feel great but every day it's getting a little better."
Along with Edmonds and Fitzgerald, also not practicing was tight end Darrell Daniels (hamstring). Safety Budda Baker (neck) was added to the injury report as limited, and also limited were wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (hip), linebacker Haason Reddick (hip), tight end Maxx Williams (ankle) and cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick (calf/hamstring).
For the Rams, running back Cam Akers (ankle), quarterback Jared Goff (thumb) and linebacker Micah Kiser (knee) didn't practice. Running back Malcolm Brown (shoulder) was limited.
NEW QUARTERBACK, SAME EXPECTATIONS OF RAMS
The Rams will have a new quarterback Sunday in John Wolford, but Cardinals defensive coordinator Vance Joseph said the Rams will continue to run much of the time their normal offense, which mirrors the one used by the 49ers – with both descendants of former Broncos coach Mike Shanahan's system.
There will be zone blocking, and bootlegs, and play-action vertical passing.
"That won't change much, whoever is playing quarterback," Joseph said. "On third downs, (a different QB) matters. Having a quarterback with experience to convert third downs is always a good thing for an offense. If you don't it's probably a bad thing. But first, second down, I don't think it will change at all, and hopefully third downs, we can win some there."