Has Arizona Cardinals' wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald played his last professional football game?
As Fitzgerald considers retirement this offseason, he was scheduled to play in the 2017 Pro Bowl this weekend, but a report surfacing Monday from Seahawks.com said Fitzgerald will miss the game due to an undisclosed injury and will be replaced by Seattle wide receiver Doug Baldwin.
Fitzgerald was one of three Cardinals' players selected to the Pro Bowl, but after running back David Johnson suffered an MCL sprain in week 17, that left Arizona with just two potential participants. With the news of Fitzgerald's injury coming to light, cornerback Patrick Peterson will now serve as the Cardinals' lone representative Sunday in Orlando.
A 10-time Pro Bowler, Fitzgerald joined Jerry Rice as the only other NFL receiver to record double-digit Pro Bowl selections with his nod in 2016. The Cardinals' franchise leader in career receptions (1,125), receiving yards (14,389) and receiving touchdowns (104), Fitzgerald would need to play roughly four or five more seasons to match or better many of Rice's NFL records.
Fitzgerald finished the 2016 season, his 13th in the NFL, with a league-high 107 receptions for 1,023 yards and six touchdowns and was far and away the Cardinals' most productive receiver. As Michael Floyd struggled with consistency and John Brown and Jaron Brown battled injuries, quarterback Carson Palmer was forced to rely on Fitzgerald for a significant amount of the team's production in the passing game.
Cardinals' head coach Bruce Arians told azcentral.com over the weekend that he believes Fitzgerald "is starting to get the itch" to play again in 2017 based on conversations Arians and Fitzgerald have had so far this offseason. However, after battling through various bumps and bruises during the 2016 season, Fitzgerald has yet to make his intentions known.
On Sunday, Fitzgerald was named one of three finalists for the NFL's Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, given annually to a player who demonstrates excellence on the field and excellence through community service initiatives. Fitzgerald joins Carolina's Greg Olsen and New York's Eli Manning as the other two finalists for the award. Fitzgerald was also a finalist back in 2012.