The Cardinals never once stepped on the field as a team this offseason. For Larry Fitzgerald, perhaps not surprisingly, that's just fine.
Fitz has never really made a secret that the team-based grind can get to him -- in 2016, he famously said "Training camp stinks when you are bad (as a team), training camp stinks when you’re good. It’s training camp."
In 2011, which was already Fitz's eighth season in the NFL, the offseason was wiped out because of the lockout, with no on-field work like this year. For Fitz, 2011 "was my favorite offseason that I've ever had in 17 years and it's not even close."
So no, he wasn't bothered -- on a personal level -- to be shut out this summer.
"I'm a professional," Fitzgerald said. "You don't have to wake me up in the morning to go train and catch balls and run routes. I'm going to do everything. That's my livelihood, that's my passion, that's my joy. It gives me the ability to be a lot more flexible. I can go sit in on (business) meetings, board meetings, a couple of other things I'm interested in, and also get the work that I know I need to get done to prepare myself for the rigors of the football season.
"For a guy like me, not having the wear and tear of minicamps and OTAs, the drudgery and monotony of sitting in meetings all day, for things you pretty much know for the last 15 years. I can get right to the things that are most important to me to get myself together, which I know. So this has been great. The only difference is the things we are dealing with as a society, which none of us have had to deal with in our lifetimes on this football team, the COVID and now the protests. That's different, but in terms of the preparation for ball, that's been great."
What's funny is that, as a guy who has a) been around so long and b) owns the resumé that he does, Fitzgerald would have the power to sit out a chunk of offseason work if he chose. Other than that final minicamp, it's all voluntary. Obviously different players interpret that differently, but Fitz easily could make a strong argument why he doesn't need to be around. Yet he almost always is.
He did need to learn from new head coaches the past two offseasons. But knowing how Fitzgerald truly feels about such offseason work yet seeing how he does it anyway just shows again why Fitz is one of the greatest wide receivers to have played and why he remains such a key part of the Cardinals 17 years in.