With Larry Fitzgerald and the Cardinals in Canton, Ohio, for tonight’s Hall of Fame Game, Arizona’s star receiver is hearing questions about whether he expects to return to Canton with his own bust one day. And those are questions Fitzgerald would prefer not to address.
“I’m uncomfortable talking about that,” Fitzgerald said when the Arizona Republic approached him about a story on the subject.
Fitzgerald’s modesty is admirable, and as a 28-year-old who’s still in his prime, there’s no reason he needs to be thinking about what his career legacy might be when he’s eligible for Hall of Fame consideration, which probably won’t be for more than a decade. But Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt isn’t afraid to predict now that Fitzgerald will find himself in the Hall of Fame some day.
“If I was a betting man,” Whisenhunt said, “I would definitely bet on that.”
Whisenhunt’s bet is probably a good one. Through eight seasons, Fitzgerald is on his way to accumulating Hall of Fame numbers: He’s closing in on 700 catches, 10,000 yards and 75 touchdowns in his career and he already has four different seasons of more than 1,400 yards. He’s a six-time Pro Bowler and a four-time All-Pro, and he’s had big games on big stages, including a two-touchdown performance in a losing effort in Super Bowl XLIII. (With seven catches for 127 yards, Fitzgerald, not Santonio Holmes, might have been Super Bowl MVP if the Cardinals’ defense had been able to stop the Steelers’ game-winning drive before Holmes scored the winning touchdown.)
If recent history is any guide, any receiver not named Jerry Rice has a tough time convincing the Hall of Fame Selection Committee of his worthiness for enshrinement. But when Fitzgerald is done playing, he’s likely to have a very strong case.