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NFL 2016: Larry Fitzgerald's Legend Continues
Arizona wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald recorded a franchise-record 109 catches for 1,215 yards and nine touchdowns last season. It marks Fitzgerald's third career season with at least 100 receptions and his seventh 1,000-yard season -- both team records. Larry should continue to build on his legend again this season
Larry Fitzgerald had a great year in 2015, but will he see a big drop in 2016?
His production this season may tail off, but he's more than capable of 80 catches and 1,000 receiving yards.
Admittedly, Fitzgerald had a sub-par season in 2014 posting his worst stats since his rookie season. But in 2015, just as it appeared that Fitzgerald was past his prime, Larry posted career-high numbers. On the other hand, Fitzgerald's production declined in the second half of the season. In Weeks 11 thru 17 Larry scored only two touchdowns and failed to surpass 100 receiving yards in any of those games.
Fitzgerald is 33 years old entering the 2016 season, but he still plays football with the same commitment and passion.
"The first thing I think of is his professionalism and passion," says Cardinals Pro Bowl quarterback Carson Palmer about Fitzgerald. "He has such a commitment to his craft and working at it in every way. His football IQ is off the charts and so is his level of preparation."
Fitzgerald enters 2016 as the only active player with at least 13,000 receiving yards (13,366) and 90 receiving touchdowns (90) and is one of only 10 players in NFL history to accomplish the feat.
"Larry has phenomenal hands," says former Arizona quarterback Kurt Warner. "I've never seen anybody with better hands. He can catch all kinds of passes from different angles and in different positions. That's what separates him from everybody else."
Last season, Fitzgerald reached the 1,000-catch mark in Week 13. At 32 years, 97 days old, Fitzgerald became the youngest player in NFL history to reach 1,000 career receptions.
"It's nice," says Fitzgerald about reaching the milestone. "It's nice but it's even better to keep winning games. Coming here in 2004, it's really special to be here that long and see a complete transformation of the organization. It makes you feel proud and special to be a part of it."
Youngest players to reach 1,000 career receptions in NFL history
|Player||Age at 1000th||Career Receptions|
|Source: NFL *Active|
|Larry Fitzgerald*||32 years, 97 days||1,018|
|Andre Johnson*||33 years, 163 days||1,053|
|Jason Witten*||33 years, 215 days||1,020|
|Jerry Rice||34 years, 21 days||1,594|
|Marvin Harrison||34 years, 107 days||1,102|
Fitzgerald currently has a catch in 179 consecutive games, the longest active streak in the NFL. It is also the longest streak in franchise history.
"I still love it," says Fitzgerald about the preparation he puts in every week. "I love coming in, seeing the game plan and seeing how we're going to attack the opponent that week. Everything about it, I love."
Through his first 186 career games, Fitzgerald has 1,018 catches. He has more catches than all of the receivers enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame had through 186 games except for JERRY RICE (1,037). Fitzgerald has more receiving yards (13,366) than every Pro Football Hall of Fame receiver had through 186 career games except Rice (16,265).
"Special," says Palmer when asked to describe Fitzgerald. "As simple as that word is, that describes him the best. He's special." Fitzgerald has also been a dominant performer in the postseason, recording 57 catches for 942 yards (104.7 per game) and 10 touchdowns in nine career playoff games. He is the only player in NFL history to average at least 100 receiving yards and a touchdown catch per game in his postseason career.
"It's not like my approach changes or anything," says Fitzgerald about his postseason success.
"I'm just able to be calm in the biggest moments and I'm able to focus and just rely on my technique. When you've done it for so long, you're confident, you know what you're doing and you have an idea because you're prepared for it. So you just go out and execute."
Fitzgerald's 942 receiving yards are the most in a player's first nine playoff games. He has three postseason games with at least 150 receiving yards, the most in NFL history. And he has 10 career postseason touchdown receptions, tied for the third-most in NFL history. Only Pro Football Hall of Famers Rice (22 in 29 games) and JOHN STALLWORTH (12 in 17 games) have more.
"Larry means the world to this team, this organization, this community and this state," says Cardinals Pro Bowl cornerback PATRICK PETERSON. "He's been doing it for a very long time. Words can't explain what Larry means to all of us."
NFL Football: "NFL 2016: Larry Fitzgerald's Legend Continues"