Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald is heading into his 17th season, so he’s been through quite a few offseason programs.
This year was the first time he took part in a remote program as the COVID-19 pandemic forced teams to work over computers rather than at their facilities. That was challenging for some coaches and players, but it reminded Fitzgerald of his favorite NFL offseason.
That was the 2011 offseason when teams didn’t work at all because of the lockout that preceded an agreement on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NFL and the NFLPA. Fitzgerald said “you don’t have to wake me up in the morning to go train and catch balls and run routes,” so he preferred a looser schedule that allowed him to deal with other parts of his life.
“For a guy like me, not having the wear and tear of minicamps and OTAs, the drudgery and monotony of sitting in meetings all day, for things you pretty much know for the last 15 years,” Fitzgerald said, via the team’s website. “I can get right to the things that are most important to me to get myself together, which I know. So this has been great. The only difference is the things we are dealing with as a society, which none of us have had to deal with in our lifetimes on this football team, the COVID and now the protests. That’s different, but in terms of the preparation for ball, that’s been great.”
Fitzgerald’s got a longer track record and more job security than most players, so it’s not a great surprise that he didn’t see any downside to working on his own the last few months. Those who were trying to open doors will likely feel differently as they look toward training camp.