Count former Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson among those who believe wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald will return to the team for an 18th season.
It’s been 164 days since the Cardinals’ season ended, but there have been no words from Fitzgerald and no indication of whether he plans to continue his career in Arizona or elsewhere.
Since the end of the season, the Cardinals signed wide receiver A.J. Green as a free agent and selected Rondale Moore in the second round of the draft.
Still, head coach Kliff Kingsbury said there will be no issue fitting Fitzgerald into the position room if he decides to play.
At the team’s minicamp, Kingsbury said, “That's the No. 1 question I get asked anywhere I go. It's not, ‘How are y'all going to be?’ it's, ‘Have you talked Fitz into coming back?’ I think that says a lot about what he means to this state, this area, this organization, but any room that Larry Fitzgerald is in, he's going to make dramatically better. There's no doubt.”
Asked twice during the team’s OTAs and minicamp about Fitzgerald, Kingsbury insisted there was “no update, other than his basketball team is doing really, really good. So we got that going.”
That, of course, was a reference to the Phoenix Suns, where Fitzgerald is a part-owner.
As for Peterson, he made clear his opinion this week on the All Things Covered Podcast with Bryant McFadden.
Now with the Minnesota Vikings, Peterson said, "If he ain't retired yet, he ain't going to retire."
When McFadden asked Peterson if there is room on the team’s roster, he said, "I think they will definitely find a way, they will find a way for it. If Larry definitely wanted to come back late in the year, or whenever the time may permit itself, they will find a way.”
Because Fitzgerald grew up in Minneapolis, McFadden asked Peterson if he had heard any speculation the receiver might sign with the Vikings.
"No, I haven't," Peterson said. "That would be interesting if he wanted to come back to Minnesota, but I necessarily don't see that happening. If there was a team that he was going back to, it would be Arizona."
However, he then said it wouldn’t surprise him to see Fitzgerald land in Tampa with Bruce Arians, who was the Cardinals head coach from 2013 to 2017.
Said Peterson, "Larry understands the position that he is in right now. He's not going to go out there and give you 40, 50 plays a game. He understands he can probably go out there and give you a good 20, at least. And why not it be in a system you already know in Bruce Arians or come back to Arizona if they are able to make a run, help those guys make a push in the playoffs."
The absence of Fitzgerald and Peterson from offseason work wasn’t lost on current Cardinals.
Asked specifically about Fitzgerald, tackle D.J. Humphries said, “It’s definitely been weird not having him out there. I'm still hanging onto hope because we haven't heard anything yet. So I'm not losing any hope until I get a word.
“This is the first practices I've been at as a Cardinal with him and Pat not being out there. So it's definitely a lot different.”