As we approach the end of the offseason, where football comes to a halt, some players are still in the midst of career changes. One of those players is future Hall of Fame member Larry Fitgerald. After completing 17 seasons with the Arizona Cardinals, Minnesota native Fitzgerald is still unsure whether he will prepare for the 2021 season, saying he “hasn’t decided anything yet.”
Minnesota Vikings fans would obviously love to see the team’s former ball collector return to end his career in purple and gold. But why don’t we have an answer yet? Larry is a highly respected and highly regarded talent who could apparently call his own shots. So what is it that takes so long? Here are some possible answers to this question.
He waits for off-season activities to join the Cardinals
Vikings fans remember the summer of 2010 as they eagerly awaited to see if quarterback Brett Favre, 40, would return for one last chance at the Super Bowl. It wasn’t the first time Favre has extended his decision-making process in an effort to stay away from off-season activities. The Packers are currently seeing Aaron Rodgers enjoying his offseason as the young players burn the camps. And it’s not just quarterbacks of dramatic superstars. Hall of Fame level players don’t like going through camps as they near the end of their careers. They prefer to extend their summer and rest during the offseason as they prepare their bodies for the season ahead.
Fitzgerald could do something similar here while he waits for training camp to return with the Cardinals. While he wants to come back, he also doesn’t want to be bothered by the hassle of NFL camps and workouts in his old age. He might see the Cardinals as a potential candidate and see this season as his last chance to get that elusive ring with the team he’s played for his entire career.
He monitors other situations
Last season, Fitzgerald recorded the fewest receptions, yards, targets and touchdowns since joining the league in 2004. Those numbers are only going down, with the Cardinals adding Rondale Moore and AJ Green this offseason. While he’s probably a wide receiver 3 at best, Fitzgerald could consider other situations in the league where he could have more of an impact in what could be his final season. Without a doubt, he would like this movement to be with a competitor.
Finding a team that offers both the opportunity to compete at the level they want and the opportunity to face may not be as easy as it sounds. As the offseason rolls around and we head to camp, those opportunities could become clearer. He could wait for this clarity to make a decision on what situation is best for him.
This is clearly the path that Viking fans are hoping for as they need a WR3 and believe themselves to be a contender. Maybe Larry sees the moves they made during the offseason and could join his hometown team to compete for a ring while also fulfilling a childhood dream of playing for his favorite team.
He doesn’t want to distract from the suns
Although Fitzgerald recently said he has no idea when he will return or retire, chances are he already knows what he wants to do. So if he knows what he wants to do, why doesn’t he come and say it already? Maybe he wants to keep the focus away and keep it on the Phoenix Suns, the basketball team he co-owns, as they play their first final since 1993.
When a player of Fitzgerald’s caliber retires or joins a team, he often dominates the sports news cycle. With players who have spent their entire careers with one team, this tends to be even more the case. Fitzgerald being the soft-spoken, humble person he is, he’s probably waiting until the finale ends before announcing his next move.
No one can tell you why Fitzgerald hasn’t made a decision yet, other than Fitzgerald, and I doubt we’ll hear that from him. These seem to be the most likely reasons and there’s a good chance we’ll get a resolution from him ASAP. Maybe after Game 6 or maybe Game 7 if the Suns want it.