As Carson Palmer and Larry Fitzgerald addressed their football futures in the past few days, no one bothered to ask if coach Bruce Arians would return for another season with the Arizona Cardinals.
Arians has been hospitalized with health issues on two separate occasions since training camp opened in August. Might he be inclined to walk away from the game at age 64 after suffering through a disappointing season?
“I’ll be back,” Arians said, via ESPN.com, Tuesday. “I ain’t going nowhere.”
While Palmer also plans to return for another run at the Super Bowl in 2017, Fitzgerald isn’t ready to look beyond the final two games of this season.
After fielding questions about his own future, Arians was asked about the nine-time Pro Bowl wideout.
“Like every year, the same team never comes back,” Arians said. “Obviously, he would be a big part of it, not coming back, if he decides to retire.
“I hope he comes back.”
NFL Network analyst Kurt Warner, the Cardinals quarterback during Fitzgerald’s epic 2008 playoff run, weighed in during Wednesday’s appearance with Andrew Siciliano on Up to the Minute Live.
“He wants to be one of those one-team guys, plays his entire career with one team,” Warner said. “I believe he also wants to win a championship. But if certain pieces aren’t there and he doesn’t believe this team can win a championship, then you really have to contemplate ‘do I want to come back for another year if I don’t feel like that one thing that’s eluded me is there for me to possibly get next year?’”
Asked if he could envision Fitzgerald in another team’s uniform, Warner answered without equivocation: “Absolutely not. Knowing Larry as well I do, at this stage in his career where he’s already thinking about retirement, I don’t see him going to another team for a year in hopes that he could win a title in one year. He would rather say ‘I was an Arizona Cardinal my entire career’ and have people remember him that way.”
Leading up to the season opener, Fitzgerald had told people close to him that he expected 2016 to be his last season, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported at the time. If that was his mindset in September, it’s fair to wonder if he’ll commit to another season before the Cardinals begin reconstructing their roster in March and April.