Cards WR Fitzgerald to return for 16th season

Josina Anderson spoke with Larry Fitzgerald Sr., who said his son “still has passion” and wants a better ending than a 3-win season. (1:02)

TEMPE, Ariz. — The speculation is over: Larry Fitzgerald will be back with the Arizona Cardinals in 2019.

The Cardinals announced Wednesday that the star wide receiver will return for a 16th season in the NFL after signing a one-year contract.

The men who have thrown passes to the Cardinals’ future Hall of Famer offer an insider’s view of his exploits on the field and character off it.

Larry Fitzgerald committed to returning to the Cardinals for another season. We asked former players how difficult it was to finally retire.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Fitzgerald, who wears No. 11, has made $11 million in each of the past three seasons.

“No player has meant more to this franchise or this community than Larry Fitzgerald,” team president Michael Bidwill said in a statement. “In my discussions with him, it was clear that he is as driven and as passionate as ever. We are thrilled he’ll be back for 2019.”

Fitzgerald told ESPN’s Adam Schefter via text message earlier this month that he was taking some time to collect his thoughts after a grueling season in which Arizona (3-13) finished with the worst record in the NFL and landed the No. 1 overall pick in the April draft.

Fitzgerald has taken some time in recent offseasons to decide whether he would return for the following year. In 2018, Fitzgerald announced he was returning on Feb. 15 and in 2017, he announced on Feb. 2.

“I never lose sight of how fortunate that I am to be playing a game that I love, doing something I love,” Fitzgerald said this past season. “Most people get up and work jobs they don’t like with hours they don’t like. … This is a great job, one that I’m fortunate and blessed to have so I never lose sight of that.”

For the second straight year, Fitzgerald will be playing for a new head coach and in a new offensive system.

The Cardinals hired Kliff Kingsbury to replace Steve Wilks as head coach on Jan. 8. During his introductory news conference, Kingsbury said he would love to have Fitzgerald on the team next season but would let the front office figure out whether the wide receiver was coming back.

Fitzgerald, who had 69 catches for 734 yards and six touchdowns this season, will be 36 years old during the 2019 season. He is solidly No. 2 in career receiving yards, trailing Jerry Rice by more than 6,000 yards, but he could pass Tony Gonzalez for second on the career receptions list. Fitzgerald needs 23 catches to pass Gonzalez.

Last season broke a streak of three straight years with 100 catches and 1,000 yards for Fitzgerald. In 2017, he became the oldest player with 100 catches in a season in NFL history.