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Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald is ready to embark on his 15th NFL season, and if his career continues beyond the 2018 campaign, he only wants to play for the team that drafted him. Speaking at his hometown youth camp in Minnesota, Fitzgerald said, “If I’m not playing in Arizona, I won’t be playing anywhere.” In today’s NFL, with free agency and the salary cap, it is not common to see a guy play with one team for their entire career. And No. 11 only wants to play if it’s in the desert.

How great is he, though? Does he qualify as part of an especially rare breed of both one-team stars and all-time legends? The numbers certainly suggest so.

Fitz currently sits third all-time for receptions and receiving yards, according to Pro-Football-Reference.com. He also sits at eighth for all-time for receiving touchdowns. Those are pretty impressive numbers for a guy who hasn’t always played with quality NFL quarterbacks. It’s also impressive putting up those numbers in one uniform. The great Jerry Rice, who leads all three categories and is widely considered the greatest of all time, played for three different teams.

On top of being a great football player, some would argue Fitzgerald is an even greater man. Wide receivers in the NFL are oftentimes divas, and that couldn’t be further from the truth when it comes to Larry Legend.

He has never had any off-the-field issues and is probably one of the most selfless superstars the NFL has ever seen. As previously mentioned, Fitzgerald hasn’t always had great quarterbacks to play with, but he also never complained. With his remarkable playoff run in 2008 that led the Cardinals to their only Super Bowl appearance, he also nearly brought the city of Arizona a championship.

He scored the go-ahead touchdown with 2:37 remaining on the clock, but the Pittsburgh Steelers drove the ball down and Super Bowl MVP Santonio Holmes made an unbelievable catch to secure the victory for the Steelers. It was a heartbreak for Larry and the Cardinals, but his playoff run will go down as one of the greatest we have ever seen.

Where does Larry Fitzgerald rank?

According to Pro Football Reference, Fitzgerald is one of five guys in the top 15 in receptions to only play for one team. Fitzgerald has the most receptions out of the other four guys in the top 15. The other four players in order are Jason Witten, Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne and Hines Ward. All four of those guys had much better overall quarterback situations than Fitz, and he still has an 82-catch cushion on the recently retired Witten.

Fitzgerald is also one of five in the top 15 for receiving touchdowns to only play for one team. The other four receivers are Harrison, Antonio Gates, Steve Largent and Don Hutson.

Why is it important?

You may be thinking, “Yeah, but so what?” Well, what Fitzgerald has been able to accomplish throughout his Hall of Fame career with the Cardinals has been refreshing. Every once in a while, it is nice to see a great player — no matter the sport — get drafted by an organization and play their entire career there. Now if Larry was to ever leave Arizona, it wouldn’t be like a LeBron James situation where Fitzgerald would be leaving his hometown. However, that certainly would send shockwaves throughout the desert. Fitzgerald will go down as one of the greatest receivers to ever play the game, and we shouldn’t take for granted his remaining years in the league. He will forever be the face of what it means to be an Arizona Cardinal both on and off the field forever.

Sports Al Dente 2019

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