Sometime in the next couple of weeks, Kliff Kingsbury will talk to Larry Fitzgerald, and the coach will make his pitch to the veteran wide receiver of why he should return for a 17th NFL season in 2020.
"Before he heads to Australia or Europe or wherever he offseasons at," Kingsbury said. "You all (in the media) won't be able to find him to ask him yourselves, I know that."
Whatever Kingsbury might pitch, the coach isn't saying. And, like every other time Fitzgerald has been asked about his plans for the following season since retirement became a topic a few years ago, Fitzgerald isn't tipping his hand either, playing coy while saying Sunday's home finale against the Browns "could be" his final home game.
"You never know," Fitzgerald said Thursday. "You never know. I don't give it much thought. I told you before, I stay in the moment, man. The career will end. When it ends, it ends."
But Fitzgerald – who remains the Cardinals' leader in catches (64) and yards (669) this season – did offer a little insight to his thought process and even into life after football.
The wide receiver has never left much doubt he didn't have interest in coaching or TV work. He wasn't getting specific on post-football opportunities, but Fitzgerald did talk about getting his MBA and his desire to work with high-level businessmen – including Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver and various NFL owners – is well-documented.
He also said he wants to do something that impacts people's lives.
"I love playing golf but I'm not making the world a better place by playing it," Fitzgerald said.
None of that means Fitzgerald can't play football. Kingsbury said Fitzgerald has been productive for the Cardinals this season, both on the field and in the locker room, a big reason why Kingsbury would want him to return.
"He's still a huge weapon for us, and I don't see that changing," Kingsbury said.
But it is important to Fitzgerald that he remains productive. He once said he didn't want to leave the game with his numbers and play falling off a cliff, and has made several references to being in a position where he retires and not where the league retired him.
His eventual off-field goals matter too.
"I'm weighing what I'm doing on the field and what's required to be great for what you do on the field," Fitzgerald said. "(That work) kind of hurts you from going to do what you need to do to prepare yourself (for after football), so there is a delicate balance."
Fitzgerald was asked if the reporters and he would do the same retirement Q-and-A dance after the Cardinals' finale in Los Angeles.
"We don't have to," Fitzgerald said. "I don't like dancing."
But Fitzgerald, who has played on a series of one-year contracts recently and is again scheduled to become a free agent, also knows the questions are coming.
"I guess it's inevitable when you're as old as I am," Fitzgerald added.
PUGH, SUGGS REMAIN SIDELINED; MAXX WILLIAMS ADDED TO INJURY LIST
Linebacker Terrell Suggs (back/illness) and guard Justin Pugh (back) were the only Cardinals not to practice Thursday, while tight end Maxx Williams (knee) was added to the injury report as limited.
Limited players were guard Mason Cole (knee), safety Budda Baker (hamstring), guard J.R Sweezy (illness), wide receiver Andy Isabella (shoulder), wide receiver Christian Kirk (ankle), cornerback Kevin Peterson (shoulder) and linebacker Joe Walker (ribs).
For the Browns, center JC Tretter (knee) did not practice. Limited were wide receiver Odell Beckham (groin), tackle Chris Hubbard (knee), wide receiver Jarvis Landry (hip), defensive back Eric Murray (knee), and defensive end Olivier Vernon (knee).
OL TOTH DESIGNATED TO RETURN
Offensive lineman Brett Toth, who had been placed on the injured reserve/non-football illness list Oct. 19 to make room for Patrick Peterson on the active roster, was designated for return Wednesday by the team. Toth would have to be activated to the 53-man roster to play in a game, but it does allow him to return to practice the last three weeks of the season.r
Toth is the second Cardinal to be designated to return, after tackle Jordan Mills. It means the Cards can't designate any other players to return, meaning cornerback Robert Alford, who broke his leg in training camp, will remain on injured reserve for the balance of the season.