Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury said Thursday that “nothing has changed” regarding Larry Fitzgerald’s decision to return to the NFL for his 18th season or retire.
“My communication with Larry literally has consisted of golf, investments or Phoenix Suns basketball,” Kingsbury said of Fitzgerald, who is a minority owner of the NBA franchise. “Like we mentioned before, Larry is gonna decide this on his time and he’s one of the greatest players of all-time and obviously he deserves that time.”
Fitzgerald has spent the last half-decade entering free agency each offseason with retirement as a possibility. Ultimately, he’s returned to Arizona by signing a string of one-year deals.
But at no other point has his decision-making period lasted this long.
Free agency opened in March, the Cardinals are already undergoing voluntary virtual meetings and the 2021 NFL Draft’s first day is a week from Thursday.
As it stands, the Cardinals are prepped to move on from Fitzgerald, who recorded 54 catches for 409 yards and a touchdown last season.
Arizona returns DeAndre Hopkins and Christian Kirk, but also signed Pro Bowler A.J. Green away from the Cincinnati Bengals this offseason. The Cardinals also bring back third-year pros Andy Isabella and KeeSean Johnson, plus could look to the draft to add to the competition for the fourth receiver.
General manager Steve Keim said Thursday that he would welcome Fitzgerald back with open arms, though presumably at the right price.
The GM added he doesn’t need a decision from Fitzgerald before the draft.
“I don’t,” Keim said. “No matter what Larry decides, it does not affect our draft. There’s guys on one-year contracts (on the roster). Again, as far as building your team and the type of depth that you have, you can never have enough good players.
“Obviously, Larry Fitzgerald is a great one, so you wouldn’t say no to him, either.”