The Drive with Jody Oehler

The Drive with Jody Oehler

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Cardinals Need Fitz More Than Ever

The Arizona Cardinals wrapped up their 2019 home schedule on Sunday with a cathartic victory over the dysfunctional Cleveland Browns.

Kyler Murray led and his team followed. Kenyan Drake pulverized Steve Wilks and his defense. And Larry Fitzgerald did Larry Fitzgerald things.

Will it be the last time a home crowd gets to experience the joy of watching number eleven do his Hall of Fame thing on the football field?

Larry wasn't saying.

Now, please consider this your warning that I'm about to offer some very light criticism of the Cardinals greatest player ever. If you are offended by slight critiques of Larry Fitzgerald, please close your browser and hug your family.

Larry knows he's not like any other player. Spare me the (in this very specific context ONLY) disingenuous humility from a player extremely likely to be named one of the ten greatest wide receivers in NFL history and one of the 100 greatest players in NFL history.

He is, and knows, he is a legend and thus the fans don't deserve a farewell tour, they do deserve a farewell moment. But thats a conversation for another day.

This team still needs Larry.

In fact, Fitz has never been needed more for the Cardinals.

On the field, he's a valuable contributor. He's still the emotional spark plug for a team and a home crowd. And whether the Cardinals draft ANOTHER WR or go the free agent route, there's really no path where he's not still a reliable 3rd option, at worst, for Kyler Murray.

This is more about the Cardinals needing Larry Fitzgerald, again, as their saving grace off the field.

The Cardinals really want you to fall in love with Kyler Murray and forget about the rest. They want you to believe, and it may be true, that this team is on the upswing with a young, talented nucleus of offensive talent that is getting better as they learn including head coach Kliff Kingsbury.

They want you to forget about Steve Keim's draft track record and oversight of a franchise that hasn't spent a single day above .500 since 2015.

They want you to believe this current Cardinals team is going to be different next year.

A Larry Fitzgerald retirement could feel like an indictment of that vision. A Larry Fitzgerald return would feel like an endorsement of it.

Why leave now if Kyler and Kliff are capable of making such sweet offensive music together? Why walk away now when the darkest days are behind you and the future has arguably never been brighter?

If its concerns for his physical health, no questions asked. If its any other reason he decided to hang up his cleats, it would be fair to question whether Larry has questions about the Cardinals future.

When Larry has his answer, then so will we.

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