Former Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald has yet to make an official announcement on his retirement from the game of football, but it might as well be written in stone.
The 39-year-old last played in 2020 and has gone on the record in the past saying that he isn’t interested in playing football again.
“For now I’ll be a radio broadcaster,” said Fitzgerald on his Sirius XM show with Jim Gray and Tom Brady called “Let’s Go!” in August of 2021. “Jim, to be honest with you, I just don’t have the urge to play right now. I don’t know how I’ll feel in September, October (or) November moving forward. But I just, today, I just don’t have the urge. And I think I have to be respectful of that.”
Fitzgerald is a minority owner of the Phoenix Suns and was also named executive chair of the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee in 2023.
“I am thrilled to be involved with the committee and its partners as we collectively look to make Super Bowl LVII the most successful to date,” Fitzgerald said.
The whole world has seemed to get the message concerning Fitzgerald’s plans for the future, but one former prominent coach held out hope on a potential NFL return.
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Familiar Face Confronted Fitzgerald in 2021
In 2021, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers tried to sign Larry Fitzgerald due to injuries at wide receiver from Mike Evans and Chris Godwin.
Then-Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians, who coached the Cardinals from 2013 to 2017, reached out to Fitzgerald but was ultimately rejected by the 11-time Pro Bowler.
“When we lost our guys, especially when Chris Godwin got hurt, I called Fitz,” Arians told Arizona Sports 98.7 on April 6. “He said, ‘Coach, I couldn’t run two plays right now, but thanks.’ I said, ‘I just had to check.'”
Arians had a history with Fitzgerald as both were Cardinals for five seasons. Arians compiled a 49-30-1 record in Arizona and made the NFC Championship in 2015. After the 2017 season, Arians retired with a year left on his contract due to health reasons.
Two years later, Arians agreed to a four-year contract with the Bucs and would inherit Tom Brady in his second season. The duo won a Super Bowl title in 2020, an NFC South division title and made two playoff appearances.
Fitzgerald is turning 39 this summer and Arians retired for a second time on March 30 as he’s stepping into a front-office role with the Bucs.
Brady retired on February 1, only to return to the Buccaneers for the 2022 season just 40 days later.
It doesn’t appear Fitzgerald will make the same decision anytime soon.
Arians Speaks on Retirement
If it wasn’t for Brady returning, Arians would have returned as Bucs head coach.
“There was always a possibility (Brady could unretire) so we were going to wait until the last minute,” said Arians. “We were making plans in case he didn’t, but thank goodness he did.”
Those plans wouldn’t happen as Arians handed the reins over to former Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles.
Bowles was with the Cardinals from 2013 to 2014 and was named AP’s Assistant Coach of the Year in the 2014 season. Shortly after, Bowles was named the New York Jets head coach in 2015 but failed to reach the playoffs in his four seasons. He would be fired after the 2018 season.
Now, Bowles was given a five-year contract with the Bucs. He was in lock-step with Arians and took over the Buccaneers’ defense for three seasons. Bowles had a major part in the Bucs’ Super Bowl run as the team finished fourth in points allowed in 2020.