Larry Fitzgerald has said numerous times that winning the Super Bowl is the lone goal he still has not achieved.
The wide receiver heads into his 17th season with a very clear view of what it would mean to him if the Cards were able to pull off such a feat this season.
"That would definitely validate me," Fitzgerald said Thursday. "You wouldn't see me around here anymore if that happened."
The addition of new wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins takes the pressure off Fitzgerald being the No. 1 wideout for the Cardinals for the first time since his rookie season, when Anquan Boldin was already a Pro Bowl player and Fitzgerald was just a highly touted draft pick.
That's fine with Fitz, who is just chasing that Lombardi Trophy.
"I'm not concerned about (being) the focal point or anything," Fitzgerald said. "The ball comes my way, I'll catch it, if I need to block I'll block, whatever is required. Another catch, another touchdown, another yard is not going to make more whatever – my legacy is pretty much cemented. I just want to win a championship, I want to compete for a division title. Those are the things that are important to me."
That Fitzgerald was the one to bring up his potential retirement on his own was a small surprise, but in the context of a Super Bowl win, it made sense. And he insisted that's exactly how it would happen should the Cardinals end the season as champions – that he'd be done.
"I've got some other things up my sleeve," Fitzgerald said with a smile. "I've got some other things on the agenda."
CARDINALS IN GOOD SHAPE AT CB WITH DRE KIRKPATRICK
The Cardinals signed veteran cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick to start, and while he is set to do so, it's not lost on defensive coordinator that Kirkpatrick has only been in camp since Aug. 24 and who is still working on his conditioning.
"He's in OK shape," Joseph said. "That's a guess how much he can play at full speed."
Joseph said the Cardinals have already planned to use multiple players at that spot but "hopefully he can get most of the snaps." Byron Murphy has gotten plenty of practice as the No. 2 cornerback after Robert Alford was lost with a pectoral injury, and Murphy of course played outside much of last season.
"(Dre) knows his body," said Joseph, who is close with Kirkpatrick after the two spent two seasons together with the Bengals. "If he can't go the entire game, he will say something to me and we'll adjust."
Joseph added that Kirkpatrick's veteran presence has helped in the secondary.
"Dre is fitting in just fine," No. 1 cornerback Patrick Peterson said. "He's made our defense better."
FIRE HAZE IN THE BAY AREA AND WHAT IT MEANS
The videos and photos coming out of the Bay Area this week because of the many wildfires has been scary to see, but the 49ers have been able to continue to practice and the air quality has actually been surprisingly good considering what the area looks like.
The Air Quality Index has to be 200 or above for practices or a game to be canceled, according to the NFL. Thursday's reading was 76, and the hope is that it will improve even further going into the weekend.
"Hopefully the firefighters out there are staying safe and can put the fires out out there so we can breathe some clean air," Fitzgerald said.
FITZGERALD, HOPKINS PRACTICE FULL
As the Cardinals moved closer to Sunday's opener, the key players all practiced fully: wide receivers Hopkins and Fitzgerald both returned after a limited session Wednesday (and running back Kenyan Drake hasn't been on the injury report at all.)
Wide receiver KeeSean Johnson was added to the injury report for a non-injury reason as a DNP. Offensive lineman Josh Jones (ankle) didn't practice while tight end Maxx Williams (ankle) remained limited.
For the 49ers, rookie wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk (hmastring) was upgraded to limited, and center Ben Garland (ankle) remained limited. Wide receiver Deebo Samuel (foot) and Jason Verrett (hamstring) both did not practice.