Larry Fitzgerald has thought long and hard about retirement in recent years, but this offseason, the decision to return for a 16th season was an easy one.
The Cardinals’ star receiver will be 36 in 2019 but was motivated to come back because of the team’s poor record a year ago, he told ESPN’s Mina Kimes from the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference.
“We had a really bad season last year and I just didn’t want to go out on that level,” Fitzgerald said on The Mina Kimes Show featuring Lenny. “You’ve got to live the rest of your life knowing you went out on that level.”
Fitzgerald said there were past years in which retirement felt like a legitimate option, before some rest and relaxation changed his mind. Those thoughts didn’t creep in following a 2018 season in which the Cardinals finished with the worst record in the NFL at 3-13.
“At the end of the year I felt like, this was not it,” Fitzgerald said.
Despite his advancing age, Fitzgerald is expected to be a focal point of the offense once again in 2019. Fitzgerald may no longer be in his athletic prime, but he has led the Cardinals in receiving yards each of the past four years.
“I still enjoy it and I can still play,” Fitzgerald said. “I’m not the player that I was 10 years ago, but I can still go out there and contribute. I can make plays. I can be somebody who can situationally really help the team and make explosive plays for my group.”