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FFL: Preseason | NFL: Week 1

Fitzgerald mum, as usual, on whether this is NFL finale

Thu Dec 27 8:16pm ET
By BOB BAUM
AP Sports Writer

Players: Larry Fitzgerald, Josh Rosen

In this Dec. 9, 2018, file photo, Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (11) makes his 1,282nd career catch during the second half of an NFL football game as Detroit Lions cornerback Nevin Lawson (24) defends in Glendale, Ariz. Fitzgerald will complete a difficult season in Seattle, and he is not saying whether it will be his last. Through 15 years in the league, all with the Cardinals, he has compiled statistics that rival any receiver in the business. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri, File)


File-This Dec. 23, 2018, file photo shows Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (11) running as Los Angeles Rams defensive back Marqui Christian (41) defends during the first half of an NFL football game in Glendale, Ariz. An Arizona loss will clinch the top-pick in the 2019 NFL draft for the Cardinals (3-12) and may spell an end to Steve Wilks tenure as their head coach. Its been an underwhelming season for the Cardinals and the struggles have led to plenty of rumors that Wilks will only last one season. Theres also the question of whether Sunday, Dec. 30, 2018, will be Fitzgeralds finale after 15 standout seasons. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri, File)


TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) Someday, obviously, Larry Fitzgerald will play in his last NFL game. Whether that game is Sunday, when his beleaguered Arizona Cardinals play at Seattle, is anybody's guess.

And don't expect any hints from him. He doesn't like to talk about it.

''I haven't even thought about it,'' Fitzgerald said after the Cardinals practiced on Thursday. ''I'm just focused on trying to get this win in Seattle.''

The week before, he'd said, rather impatiently, ''You know me. I've been answering for the last three years. Nothing's going to change,'' he said. ''If I decide to retire, I'll let you guys know. Man, seriously. So, I don't understand why we keep asking these questions.''

The answer would be because he's 35 years old, played 15 seasons in the NFL and has accumulated statistics that place him among the best to play the game.

Certainly Fitzgerald seems physically capable of continuing beyond this season.

''I believe from an ability standpoint there's very few people that can do what Larry does,'' Cardinals offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich said.

''That's just honest. When the ball comes in his direction, when it's time to make the play, he's one of the best to ever do it.''

Leftwich said he's never seen a better pair of hands on a receiver, although he acknowledged that might tick off Randy Moss.

Fitzgerald is remarkably durable. He's caught a pass in 226 consecutive games. Sunday will mark his 234th NFL game, all with the Cardinals, tying the franchise record set by kicker Jim Bakken, who played from 1962-78.

With 14 yards receiving, he'll top 2,000 yards receiving against the Seahawks. Fitzgerald's already topped that mark against the Rams and 49ers, so he would join Jerry Rice as the only receivers to accomplish that feat against three teams.

Last week, in an otherwise ugly loss to the Los Angeles Rams, Fitzgerald threw his first career TD pass, a nifty 32-yarder to David Johnson.

Now, though, he finds himself on a 3-12 team that ranks last in the NFL in offense with a rookie quarterback in Josh Rosen and all the inconsistencies that brings. Fitzgerald has 65 catches for 698 yards and five touchdowns. Decent stats for anyone else, but in the previous three years, Fitzgerald caught 109, 107 and 109 passes.

So why keep playing? In terms of wins and losses, this will be the worst record of any of his 15 Cardinals teams, no matter what happens on Sunday in Seattle.

Yet he said he still loves his job.

''I can't think of anything I don't like about it,'' he said. ''The grind is great, man. It's part of it. You can't do what you do on Sunday without the practices and lifting the weights and watching the film and doing all the studying and the preparation. You can't go out there and execute if you don't put the time in.''

But those losses keep piling up.

''Hard work doesn't guarantee results,'' Fitzgerald said. ''But it ensures that you're prepared to go out there and play, and that's my thing. I step on that field there's no guarantees of anything but I know I'm prepared to play. I know my assignments, I know what I need to execute. It's your will against the other man you're competing against.''

Fitzgerald, if he returns, may be dealing with another coaching change. He's voiced his support for Steve Wilks, who looks to be on shaky ground at the end of his first season as coach.

As for Wilks, he said he's just blessed to coach a player such as Fitzgerald.

''I think about that daily just being around him, to be honest with you,'' Wilks said. ''Last week, I walked up to him, and here's a Thursday practice, and he's diving for a ball in the end zone. A guy with 15 years in the league. I try to reference that with the young guys, particularly Christian (Kirk) when he was still here practicing daily. You've got a great example and a mentor to really pattern your life after - not just football, but life.

''Larry's just one of the best.''

Player Notes
George Iloka Mar 20 9:23am ET

Free-agent S George Iloka (Vikings) is visiting the Oakland Raiders Wednesday, March 20.

Blake Bortles Mar 20 9:23am ET

Updating previous reports, Los Angeles Rams QB Blake Bortles received a one-year, $1 million deal from the Rams, which will be subtracted from the $6.5 million the Jacksonville Jaguars owe him.

Leonard Fournette Mar 20 3:03am ET

Jacksonville Jaguars RB Leonard Fournette has and will continue to work out with new University of Wyoming director of sports performance Ben Iannacchione, who spent six of the past seven seasons working in the strength and conditioning program at LSU - Fournette's alma mater. Fournette also spoke with executive vice president of football operations Tom Coughlin, who still has 'full confidence' in the player he selected No. 4 overall in 2017. 'With Leonard, a prepared Leonard coming into camp with a mindset that he discussed and we talked about ... I have full confidence in him. He does have some things he's got to prove when he comes back about his preparation, but he's a young, young player, he loves football, had an outstanding year, had a very disappointing year, and I think he wants to - we want him to be a great player and I think he's in the same mindset,' Coughlin said.

Fantasy Spin: Fournette was among the bigger disappointments in fantasy in 2018, twice missing an extended period of time with hamstring injuries and earning a suspension for coming off the sidelines to throw a punch in Week 12. Owners have every right to avoid him for his lack of durability, but he is also shaping up to be a value pick if he slides into the late third round area of fantasy drafts. Until further notice, he will still be the focal point of the offense. He'll also have plenty of motivation on what should be an improved offense.

Deshaun Watson Mar 19 11:20pm ET

The Houston Texans signed free-agent quarterback AJ McCarron to a one-year, $3 million deal on Tuesday, a source told ESPN's Adam Schefter. He'll serve as the backup to Deshaun Watson in 2019. The former Alabama quarterback has played in just 12 NFL games, including seven for the Bengals in 2015 when he took over for the injured Andy Dalton. McCarron has completed 64 percent of his passes for 928 yards, six touchdowns and two interceptions. He won't be on the fantasy radar.

From RotoBaller

Aaron Lynch Mar 19 11:13pm ET

Free-agent LB Aaron Lynch (Bears) is scheduled to visit the Indianapolis Colts on Wednesday, March 20. Lynch has already visited with the Oakland Raiders and Seattle Seahawks this week.

Randall Cobb Mar 19 11:10pm ET

The Dallas Cowboys signed free-agent wide receiver Randall Cobb to a one-year, $5 million deal on Tuesday, a source told NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. He's likely to replace Cole Beasley as the team's slot receiver alongside Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup. Cobb was a second-round pick of the Packers in 2011 and spent his first eight years in Green Bay. He had a career-high 1,287 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2014, but the 28-year-old missed seven games in 2018 with hamstring and concussion issues. Cobb's fantasy stock will be way down, especially going from quarterback Aaron Rodgers to Dallas signal-caller Dak Prescott.

From RotoBaller

Vontaze Burfict Mar 19 11:10pm ET

The Oakland Raiders signed free-agent linebacker Vontaze Burfict to a one-year deal worth roughly $5 million (including incentives) on Tuesday, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero. Burfict roamed the middle of Cincy's defense for seven years, including a 2013 Pro Bowl season after he led the league with 177 tackles. The aggressive and controversial linebacker sat out due to suspension for three straight seasons and also has been hurt by injuries. It could be a perfect fit, but Burfict's days of being IDP-relevant are likely over.

From RotoBaller

Clay Matthews Mar 19 11:00pm ET

The Los Angeles Rams signed free-agent linebacker Clay Matthews to a two-year deal worth a maximum of $16.75 million, a source informed of the situation told NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. The former first-rounder will return to his hometown. Matthews had double-digit sacks in four of his first six seasons with the Packers and was an All-Pro in 2010. The 32-year-old's play has declined in recent seasons, but he'll bring veteran leadership to an already stacked Rams unit.

From RotoBaller

A.J. McCarron Mar 19 10:43pm ET

Updating a previous report, free-agent QB AJ McCarron (Raiders) agreed to terms on a one-year contract worth $3 million with the Houston Texans on Tuesday, March 19.

Geremy Davis Mar 19 9:53pm ET

Free-agent WR Geremy Davis re-signed with the Los Angeles Chargers on Tuesday, March 19. Terms of the deal were not immediately disclosed.

Trevor Siemian Mar 19 8:03pm ET

Free-agent QB Trevor Siemian (Vikings) will meet with the New York Jets Wednesday, March 20.

Sean Mannion Mar 19 7:53pm ET

Free-agent QB Sean Mannion (Rams) has drawn interest from the Minnesota Vikings, according to sources.

Eric Berry Mar 19 7:33pm ET

Free-agent SS Eric Berry (Chiefs) left his visit with the Dallas Cowboys Tuesday, March 19, without putting pen to paper. He is expected to visit more teams in the near future.

Sean Smith Mar 19 7:13pm ET

Free-agent Sean Smith (Raiders) was reinstated from his suspension Tuesday, March 19.

Clayton Geathers Mar 19 6:53pm ET

Free-agent S Clayton Geathers (Colts) met with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Tuesday, March 19, according to a source.

Dan Bailey Mar 19 6:23pm ET

Free-agent PK Dan Bailey (Vikings) agreed to re-sign an undisclosed deal with the Minnesota Vikings Tuesday, March 19.

Nevin Lawson Mar 19 5:13pm ET

Free-agent CB Nevin Lawson (Lions) is visiting the Oakland Raiders Tuesday, March 19, according to a source.

Tommylee Lewis Mar 19 3:13pm ET

Free-agent WR Tommylee Lewis (Saints) was signed to an undisclosed deal by the Detroit Lions Tuesday, March 19.

Eric Tomlinson Mar 19 2:43pm ET

Free-agent TE Eric Tomlinson (Jets) was re-signed to an undisclosed deal by the New York Jets Tuesday, March 19.

Ryan Fitzpatrick Mar 19 2:40pm ET

The Miami Dolphins agreed to a two-year, $11 million deal with free-agent quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick on Sunday, a source informed of the situation told NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. The 36-year-old journeyman will be joining his eighth NFL team and his third in the AFC East. Barring a draft-day selection, Fitzpatrick is in line to start over Jake Rudock and Luke Falk, who have a combined five passing attempts in four seasons. Fitzpatrick spent the last two years with the Buccaneers and started 10 games. He threw for over 400 yards per game and 11 touchdowns in the first three games of 2018 with Jameis Winston suspended. Fitzpatrick is capable of putting up big games, but the consistency won't be there and his weapons in Miami are less appealing than they were in Tampa.

From RotoBaller