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Larry Fitzgerald's Production Ages Gracefully

Mid-30s can be a fickle time for all-time great wideouts

WR Larry Fitzgerald continues to excel into his mid-30s.
WR Larry Fitzgerald continues to excel into his mid-30s.

As the Cardinals prepare for their regular season opener on Sunday against the Redskins, there are questions about depth at receiver – but no such concerns at the top.

Larry Fitzgerald may be the oldest wideout in the NFL at 35, but he is still the team's clear No. 1 option in the passing game.

"He doesn't look that age right now," offensive coordinator Mike McCoy said. "If you see the way he's played throughout the offseason and the shape he came back at training camp. He's a great example for everybody in the organization, and really, everybody on the outside looking in, about the hard work and the amount of time he puts into it."

While the future Hall of Famer had an amazing peak, Fitzgerald's ability to sustain production into his mid-30s is just as spectacular. In the past three years, he has averaged 108 receptions, 1,131 yards and seven touchdowns per campaign.

That type of production is not always a given at this point in a career, even among the all-time greats. Jerry Rice famously played into his 40s at a high level, but for others who dot the history books, it was a mixed bag.

Of the top-20 all-time receivers by yardage, nine of them had at least one 1,000-yard receiving season at age 35 or older, while 10 did not. Fitzgerald could make it a 50-50 split if he reaches 1,000 yards for a fourth consecutive season. The Cardinals are betting on it.

"He's one of the best to ever play the game, and there's a reason why," McCoy said. "You guys see it every day out here."

Best Age-35 Or Over Season For Top-20 All-Time Wideouts

Table inside Article
ReceiverAgeReceiving Yards
Irving Fryar351,316
Cris Carter351,274
Jerry Rice401,211
Jimmy Smith351,172
Tim Brown351,165
James Lofton351,072
Steve Smith351,065
Terrell Owens351,052
Henry Ellard351,014
Isaac Bruce36835
Anquan Boldin35789
Reggie Wayne36779
Art Monk35644
Marvin Harrison36636
Andre Reed36536
Randy Moss35434
Steve Largent35403
Andre Johnson3585
Torry Holt*Finished playing at 33
Larry Fitzgerald*To be determined