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An anthem, the “itch” and Fitz’s return

Posted by Darren Urban on February 6, 2017 – 11:51 am

The moment, Fitz said, boiled up when Mike Phillips was playing the national anthem in Atlanta before the NFC Championship game between the Falcons and Packers. The Cardinals wide receiver said he was “just into it.”

“I was sitting there and the fire was burning,” Fitzgerald said. “I wanted to be out there.”

That’s what told Fitz he needed to play again in 2017, something he announced last week.

“I called (Bruce Arians), I said, ‘Coach, I’ve got that itch,’ ” Fitzgerald said the other night, after he was awarded the Walter Payton Man of the Year. “He was like, ‘Don’t rush, don’t make a hasty decision. Take your time.’ We talked again, I had dinner with Coach (Friday) night. I love that man, I love playing for him, he brings a great energy to our team and a toughness that is contagious.”

That’s what Arians had predicted, that the players would eventually have that itch. (Of course, when Arians said that, it was after the NFC Championship game and after Fitz said he was “pretty sure” he knew his decision, so B.A. was working with inside information.) Fitzgerald acknowledged all the things expected to have impacted his wavering about playing in the first place — feeling “pretty bad” after the season both physically and psychologically.

Spending time in Houston last week wasn’t ideal either.

“It sucks coming here (to the Super Bowl) and enjoying the pageantry of the event but not actually participating in the event,” Fitzgerald said. “It’s not the same. We all play for that. Hopefully we get off to a fast start and get it going this year.”

The Cardinals are waiting to hear from quarterback Carson Palmer about his status for 2017, but at this point it feels like a foregone conclusion Palmer will indeed play.

“We all hope that Carson comes back, not to put any pressure on him,” Fitzgerald said. “But we are a very, very good team when Carson is playing quarterback for us.”

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14 Responses to “An anthem, the “itch” and Fitz’s return”

  1. By Adam Smith b1723 fka DTL on Feb 6, 2017 | Reply

    2 key comments since our season ended:

    1. Edelman in post SB51 presser on FS1:
    Q: “how did you guys dominate Q4 and OT like that?”
    A. “Coach has us run those hills behind where we train every Thursday after practice, it kills us, we have tremendous mental and physical toughness that shows at end of games”

    Arians ” we lacked toughness, especially at the end of games, our training camp and practices were too soft, that wont happen again”

    We were just as good as NE, just not as tough…I will take Arians on his pledge to learn from last season’s mistake.

  2. By 'ZonaFan89 on Feb 6, 2017 | Reply

    GET. THAT. RING. BIRDGANG!!!!!

  3. By Adam Smith b1723 fka DTL on Feb 6, 2017 | Reply

    PS: Super fine tux on LF.

  4. By Scott H on Feb 6, 2017 | Reply

    OK, I gotta ask – is anyone else feeling just a little irked that we’re still waiting to hear from Carson Palmer right now??? C’mon, man. It sounds like it would be a major shock to just about anyone if Palmer is NOT playing in 2017. He was extended for the 2017 season. I swear he has already said he plans to play next year. Fitz has already made & announced his decision. So…..why are we still waiting on Palmer????

    It is causing concern for me at a time when I feel like we should all be looking forward to 2017 with great expectations. And for all I know, Palmer has told the team he is playing and they already know. But if Fitz is still expressing his hope that Palmer plays…..it leaves some sense of doubt ( or. at least, wonder ) out there.

    And I’m not liking it.

  5. By georgiebird on Feb 6, 2017 | Reply

    The SB was so telling in regards to QBs. While it goes without saying how great Brady is, let’s take a look at Matty Ice.
    Matt Ryan played about as good as he can. It’s also helpful to have a fantastic WR like Julio Jones. But in the end Ryan was one of the goats of the game. With the FAILcons up by 16 pts, Ryan did the unthinkable- he got strip-sacked at the most critical part of the game.
    No, I didn’t bet the game- but there are some QBs, like Ryan, that just can’t finish- this is a list that includes guys like Phillip Rivers, Andy Dalton, Alex Smith, Tony Romo and, yes, our Carson Palmer.

  6. By Scott H on Feb 6, 2017 | Reply

    Did anyone see some of the video of Eli and Fitz together at the award ceremony ( shown at the start of half-time yesterday ) and notice how completely UN-happy Fitz looked??? Both my wife and my daughter caught it right off the bat and wondered what that was about. I was kinda wondering myself. It seemed strange to see him looking like that. He almost always has a smile at moments like that.

    Anyway, glad to hear – and not at all surprised – that Fitz is still feeling the fire. But I never thought that was an issue. I believe Peyton Manning was still feeling the fire this year, too, but we could all see that he had nothing left. After leading the NFL in receptions for 2016, Fitz clearly has plenty left. So much so that I’m thinking the team needs to extend him for 2018.

    OK, sorry, I said I wouldn’t do that. BUT if he leads the NFL in receptions again in 2017, all bets are off and I am going to un-leash an unrelenting push for Fitz to play in 2018! Who’s with me??

    PS – Have we heard from Palmer yet? It’s been almost 10 minutes since I last complained about that…..

  7. By Jacob Hewitt on Feb 6, 2017 | Reply

    Darren
    Is the nfl rigged I read that the most jerseys and food and hats sold will actually pay the refs and they will more likely to call un fair penaltys I have points
    Number 1 when Ray Lewis retired huge spike in jersey sales and he won super bowl
    Number 2 when Payton Manning played and won super bowl same thing and
    A couple more happend.

  8. By Marlin on Feb 7, 2017 | Reply

    Scott H,

    You are right! I like Carson alot, and want him back. I also understand his time for reflection. But for several reasons, this is too long.

  9. By Marcelof on Feb 7, 2017 | Reply

    Here we go again,

    Both Palmer and Fitz will probably play their last season this year and from what I’ve read there’s plenty of talent to be caught in #13. Love this time of the year, hundreds of messages with draft predictions. WR, QB, CB, LB….

    But for now, I just want Carson back, there’s NOT other way Fitz can get a ring without him. No other QB would have an immediate impact under BA’s system.

    one more year, here we are… you guys from US, me from brazil and many other from all the over the world, let’s get it. Cards get to the superbowl? I will work my *** off to be in Minneapolis next February. You got my word, I will make a dream come true with Cardinals headlining the party!

    #go

  10. By D on Feb 7, 2017 | Reply

    As mentioned before by Darren and many others, this offseason for AZ will depend on C. Campbell. (safe to assume Mr. Palmer will be coming back to football after his family vacation).

    If Campbell is retained then Mr. Keim will have challenges to also keep Gresham and Jefferson, because C. Jones will be Tagged, which will eat up tons of cap space during the free agency period. Keeping Campbell is not only a good idea for on field production but for locker room chemistry.

    If Campbell is lost in Free Agency, then a combination of a low paid Veteran and possible another draft pick needed to replace him.

    Jones playing under F. Tag.
    Campbell returns then I could see the following:

    DWash to be released, saving a few million in Cap Space.

    Jefferson and Gresham will be too much money.
    Gresham has already taken one discounted deal this past year, he won’t be able to do that again being this could be his last time to get a decent contract.

    Jefferson has already said via Social Media, he wants to be paid like a top Safety in the league. I don’t see any issues with that, but AZ won’t be able to compete with other teams with more Cap Space.

    So, the domino’s will fall…

    DJ Swearinger is resigned and T. Branch is released, saving $4mil. Basically giving DJ this amount. Between a Healthy Honey Badger to help at Safety, J. Bethel to help play nickel with Mathieu, Harlan Miller to play more at Safety, B. Williams to be a backup or 3rd CB along with a First or Second Round Draft pick at CB, I think the Secondary will be fine. Q. Wilson from FL fits the profile nicely for AZ in Round 1, 6’2, fast and can play man coverage very well.

    It would be a young Secondary but with the $ going to PP, Mathieu and Swearinger, the young players will need to step up because a Free agent CB would not come cheap.

    Gresham will be too much $. But other Free agent options will be available. Luke Wilson, free agent from Seattle is a good option. If you just want a blocking TE, then good chance L. Kendricks from the Rams will be released.

    S. Moore, ILB is resigned who would be more cost effective than K. Minter. I would like to see a Second round draft pick, say a J. Davis from FL would be nice to play with Bucannon and Moore.

    If Okafor is lost in Free Agency and Golden and Jones as starters, the later getting big time $ and only K. Martin as a backup pass rusher, I would draft a 4th round OLB. Getting a free agent to come here to backup both starters would be difficult.

    My big Offseason free agent signing would be a Right Guard.

    I am assuming Shipley will come back on another 1 year deal unless his contacts in the league and play give him more $ in free agency than what AZ would pay. I would think his value would be higher to AZ than any other NFL club, so keeping him appears to be just a mater of time. I wouldn’t feel confident with Boehm as the starting RG if this is the last Run for the NFC Championship with Palmer. Boehm will be the backup Interior OL next year.

    I would target Larry Warford from Detroit who is only 25 years old at RG. Imagine the holes he would open for DJ. C. Warmack who is also only 25 yrs old is a nice backup plan at G.

    At RB, I would resign C. Johnson to back DJ, along with K. Williams and E. Penny. Williams and Penny would play Special Teams to replace S. Taylor.

    AT WR, I would use my 3rd Round Draft pick on a speedy WR that also can field punts to go along with JJ Nelson, J. Brown, Ja Brown and off course HOF to be Fitz.

    QB= with Palmer, Stanton and Dysert, the Cards could take a 5th Round flyer again on a QB in the Draft. I don’t see a Free agent QB coming here. They will kick the can down the road until next offseason.

  11. By Scott H on Feb 7, 2017 | Reply

    OK, I’m seeing the pictures of Fitz on ice skates ( ON ICE SKATES??? ) at his bobblehead night, and…..do I really need to complete my thought here?? What is Larry Fitzgerald doing on ICE SKATES?? Good lord, we NEED this man healthy and in one piece! Can somebody please get him off the ice and back on the golf course???

  12. By clssylssy on Feb 7, 2017 | Reply

    With Fitz on board, I think Palmer will be back for one last roundup. Their situations are different in that Palmer has had more injuries than Fitz, including a concussion, and he has a new baby. I think as the family grows, you start thinking more about having a degree of health so that you’ll be able to be an active parent and good dad, in a different light especially with all the concussion developments and findings about head trauma, etc., he has to be confident he can give 100% without fear that he has his priorities compromised. I fully expected Warner to be back for another year (as did everybody else), but also respected his decision to put family first.
    Hopefully, everybody will just focus on this year and getting the job done that we were told the organization was so fully committed to last season, and not get all twisted up in the what if’s down the road. In another season, I have a feeling we’ll be looking at an entirely different landscape anyway so we can do our best with what’s in front of us.
    Hopefully the Powers-to-Be are hard at it already as our season started yesterday
    and after watching the postseason teams, we have our work cut out,to even make the playoffs.

  13. By clssylssy on Feb 8, 2017 | Reply

    According to Jude LaCava, Palmer’s contract says he has five days after to SB to advise the team of his intentions for this season, which would be TOMORROW!

  14. By Darren Urban on Feb 9, 2017 | Reply

    Clssy —

    RE: Five days

    Actually, what his contracts says — which I mention here http://blog.azcardinals.com/2017/02/07/waiting-for-palmer-ranking-the-cardinals-qbs/ — is that his salary becomes guaranteed five days later (Friday).

    But if Palmer retires, it doesn’t matter if his salary is guaranteed. So that deadline doesn’t necessarily mean Palmer has to make a decision.

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