Fitzgerald mum on future plans amid speculation
TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) Larry Fitzgerald had his weekly meeting with the media Wednesday and did absolutely nothing to shed light on his plans beyond the final two games of this NFL season.
''I don't know what I'm doing next year,'' he responded to the third or fourth question on the subject. ''I don't know how much more definitive I can be with that.''
The issue gathered momentum based on a rather ambiguous comment he made earlier this week on Westwood One radio.
''I wouldn't say that I'm contemplating it (retirement) right now,'' Fitzgerald said then. ''But I'm uncertain what I'm going to do moving forward. But I still love the game, I love the competition. I love being around the guys and competing for a championship. That's a lot of fun to me. That's kind of where I'm at right now. I'm really just focused on these last two games.''
Some thought that was a hint that he's leaning toward retirement. Another columnist said he might have meant he wanted to finish his career elsewhere, with a better team.
''We're not making the playoffs and there's nothing else to talk about right now I guess,'' Fitzgerald said of how his one comment stirred up such a fuss.
Quarterback Carson Palmer said he has no idea what Fitzgerald will do.
''Well, I don't know,'' Palmer said. ''I haven't talked to him about anything but Seattle and Christmas presents for his boys and what I'm getting mine. Haven't had that discussion and we'll talk about that stuff later.''
Coach Bruce Arians was asked about the impact of the uncertainty surrounding Fitzgerald's future.
''Like every year, the same team never comes back,'' Arians said. ''Obviously, he would be a big part of it, not coming back, if he decides to retire. I hope he comes back.''
Fitzgerald emphasized he is focusing on Arizona's two remaining games, at Seattle on Saturday night and at Los Angeles in the season finale.
While his team is one of the NFL's major disappointments, Fitzgerald is having another big year.
In his 13th NFL season, the 33-year-old wide receiver leads the NFL in receptions (98) and was just named to his 10th Pro Bowl.
''Man, it's a tribute to my head coach. He puts me in position to be successful week in and week out,'' Fitzgerald said. ''Carson makes it very easy for me. He throws me great passes, protects me, keeps me away from big collisions. My teammates are very selfless allowing the old man to still be able to go out there and get some targets.''
As for leading the league in catches, he said, ''It would be a lot more gratifying if we were hosting a playoff game as a division champion. But it's nice. But we've got two games left, so I've got to hold people off.''
Fitzgerald's career numbers are among the best the game has seen.
He is third all-time in career receptions, 10th in yards receiving and eighth in touchdown catches. He has caught a pass in 193 consecutive games, the third-longest streak in NFL history.
Fitzgerald, shifted from wideout to the slot when Arians took over as coach in 2013, has acknowledged that he's feeling the wear and tear of a long season that was expected to be far different. Arizona is 5-8-1 going into Seattle.
He has played his entire career with the Cardinals and is immensely popular with fans, not only in Arizona but around the country with his low-key yet tough approach to the game.
He recently signed an extension that would pay him $11 million for one more season.
But that doesn't mean he will play.
For more NFL coverage: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP-NFL