WR Larry Fitzgerald Talks About Retirement – Said No Tears Will Be Shed

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Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald may retire after this season. Then again, he may not.

All he knows for certain is that whenever he hangs up his cleats, he’d rather retire than be retired, Josh Weinfuss of ESPN.com reports.

Fitzgerald ducked the question of whether 2017 will be his final season in the NFL during his first press conference of training camp on Sunday.

“I feel good right now,” Fitzgerald said. “When that changes, I’ll let you know.”

Fitzgerald explained that, if he does retire, this year, it won’t be announced behind a podium and he won’t shed any tears. “That’s not how I am,” he said. “I’m just one player out of 1,600 in the National Football League and it’s a lot bigger than me. It’s never going to be like that.”

Fitzgerald, who sits third on the NFL’s all-time receptions list heading into next season, said one thing that’s kept him coming back year after year is trying to get that elusive Super Bowl ring. It’s become his main priority.

“That’s huge,” Fitzgerald said. “That’s the only reason I’m playing at this point. From a personal standpoint and the things I’ve accomplished, they’re fine. But the thing that you will say is out of you control because you’re in a team sport, is a championship.”

“The end is never really pretty for elite athletes,” Fitzgerald said. “It never looks good for the most time. You watch Michael Jordan in a Washington Wizards uniform or see Tony Dorsett playing for the Denver Broncos or Shaquille O’Neal playing for the Boston Celtics. It’s weird because you’re used to seeing them play at their most dominant stage, or Willie Mays running around with bad knees 20 years in. It’s not pretty but for me, I really want to be able to play and do things at a high level and be able to walk away and still be someone who can play at a high level.”

“I don’t really make any decisions based on anybody else,” Fitzgerald said. “I never really have. I don’t know what the future holds. That’s why this year is so much more important because we don’t have to think about what we’re doing after Feb. 4. It doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is the day until then and how we can improve and get better and do what we need to do to give ourselves an opportunity to just get into the playoffs and possibly win the division and try to win the NFC championship game and get to the Super Bowl.”

Cardinals Moving Andre Ellington Back from WR to RB

After spending part of the spring as a receiver, Andre Ellington has been moved back to running back, Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic reports.

Coaches like several of the young receivers, and it was going to be difficult for Ellington to make the team at the position. So he’s back at running back, his position the previous four seasons.

“For him, he’s going to have to make it in the running back room,” coach Bruce Arians said.

Kerwynn Williams is the main backup to David Johnson, and coaches are intrigued by Elijhaa Penny’s potential.

Rookie T.J. Logan has made several big plays in practices this spring, Arians said.

Ellington, a sixth-round pick in 2013, has been hampered by injuries throughout his career. To make the team, Ellington needs to show more toughness running the ball, Arians said.

“Run harder, run tougher, like he did as a rookie,” Arians said when asked how Ellington could improve. “Once he tore the foot up and knee up a little bit, he looked for places to fall down too much.”

LB Deone Bucannon to Be Out Till September After Ankle Surgery

Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said Tuesday that linebacker Deone Bucannon will be out until September after having surgery to repair a lingering ankle injury, Josh Weinfuss of ESPN.com reports.

Bucannon initially suffered an ankle injury in November and re-injured it in Week 14 in a loss at Miami. He then went on injured reserve for the rest of the season. Arians said in December that the Cardinals were contemplating surgery as a precautionary procedure that would tighten the ligaments.

Arians is hopeful Bucannon could return by September. If the rehab goes “perfect,” Arians said the fourth-year linebacker could be back by Week 1 in Detroit.

“There’s always that chance that it won’t,” Arians said.

Cardinals Ink CB Jumal Rolle to One-Year Deal

The Cardinals have signed cornerback Jumal Rolle to a one-year contract, the Associated Press reports.

Rolle has played in 19 NFL games since entering the league as an undrafted free agent with the Buffalo Bills in 2013.

He missed all of last season with a torn Achilles tendon.

Rolle played in 10 games with Houston in 2014, when he got the only three interceptions of his career. He appeared in nine games in 2015, eight with Houston and one with Baltimore.

Rolle’s Achilles tendon injury occurred in a Ravens workout almost exactly a year ago.

Sports Illustrated Gives a Lot of Love to the Cardinals for Their 2017 Draft Picks

While it could take years for the Cardinals and the rest of the NFL to be able to give a grade to the teams’ draft class this year, it’s never early to start throwing out how teams did last week in the annual picking of players.

Chris Burke of SI has thrown out his grades – and he has the following to say about how he felt the Cardinals did last week.

This was a very on-brand draft for the Cardinals, who have made a habit of developing versatile defenders. Add to the list first-round LB Haason Reddick (No. 13 pick) and S Budda Baker (No. 36), both of whom can be utilized in myriad ways on a defense that already features Deone Bucannon and Tyrann Mathieu. Seventh-rounder Rudy Ford (No. 208) is a speed DB/special-teams guy that Arizona traded up for, too. Speaking of speed, that’s what RB T.J. Logan (No. 179) brings behind David Johnson. The picks of G Dorian Johnson (No. 115) and OT Will Holden (No. 157) add depth up front. The curious selection is of WR Chad Williams (No. 98). He can develop into a playmaker, but this was early. GRADE A-

A Rundown of All the Cardinals 2017 NFL Draft Picks

Sports Illustrated has a complete rundown of all of the Cardinals 2017 Draft Picks and some commentary as well.

Round 1, Pick 13 (No. 13 overall)

Haason Reddick, LB, Temple: Of course. Thanks to their uses of guys like Tyrann Mathieu and Deonne Bucannon, the Cardinals have been as creative as any team in the league at finding spots for talented players. Now, they’ll do it again with Reddick, the college DE-turned-NFL linebacker (probably). The Cardinals’ linebacking corps now includes Reddick, Bucannon and Chandler Jones, meaning that that it will be as dynamic and athletic as just about any group in the league. There are some concerns about Reddick’s transition, but this is a good fit. Were the Cardinals caught off guard, though, by the early QB run? They certainly could have considered a quarterback or TE O.J. Howard here, to ensure their future on that side of the ball.? GRADE: A–

Round 2, Pick 4 (No. 36, via trade with Chicago)

Budda Baker, S, Washington: Love the player. Curious about the aggressive move up the board to get him, given the cost—Arizona shipped picks 45, 119, 197 and a 2018 fourth-rounder to Chicago for this selection and 221. It seemed on the surface like a leap up for a QB, but the Cardinals seem content to keep putting that off. Baker and Tyrann Mathieu together at safety provides even more versatility to a defense loaded with it.? GRADE: B+

Round 3, Pick 34 (No. 98)

Chad Williams, WR, Grambling: Williams is not going to replace Larry Fitzgerald, ever. He could learn quite a bit from the potential future Hall of Famer, though. Williams uses his body well in positioning and with the ball in his hands, and he has just enough speed to take the top off a defense. Keep an eye on him in 2018 or ‘19.? GRADE: B

Round 4, Pick 8 (No. 115 via Panthers) Dorian Johnson, G, Pittsburgh

Round 5, Pick 13 (No. 157) Will Holden, T, Vanderbilt University

Round 5, Pick 36 (No. 179) T.J. Logan, RB, North Carolina

Round 6, Pick 24 (No. 208) Johnathan Ford, S, Auburn

Cardinals Take Temple LB Haason Reddick with 13th Pick in NFL Draft

In need of help on the defensive side of the ball, the Cardinals with the 13th pick in Thursday’s NFL Draft snagged Temple linebacker Haason Reddick.

Reddick made several NFL visits during the pre-draft process and the Cardinals were the last team he met with.

“I knew it,” Reddick said about his selection by Arizona.

Having his selection come in Philadelphia made it more special.

“It means a lot, especially to hear the uproar from the crowd when my name was called, that was beautiful,” Reddick said. “I didn’t know it was going to be that loud.”

Reddick, who hails from Camden and spent his final two injury-plagued high school seasons at Haddon Heights, said he was considered a third-to-fifth round pick after Temple’s season.

Why that was the case is confounding since he set an American Athletic Conference record of 221/2 tackles for losses for an Owls team that went 10-4 and won the league championship. Reddick also added 91/2 sacks as an undersize 6-foot-1, 237-pound defensive end.

Cardinals Pick Up Fifth-Year Option on LB Deone Bucannon

A source confirmed Wednesday that the Cardinals have picked up the fifth-year option on the rookie contract of linebacker Deone Bucannon, extending Bucannon’s deal through 2018, Darren Urban of Azcardinals.com reports.

Bucannon, the team’s first-round pick in 2014, will make $1.47 million in salary and roster bonuses in 2017. A 2018 option for a linebacker picked 27th in the draft would be slotted at $8.7 million.

The decision had been considered all but a foregone conclusion. Bucannon has been an important part of the defense, building on a role that started as a rookie.

Bucannon missed the last three games of 2016 with an ankle injury with which he had been playing much of the season. He still led the team with 100 total tackles from his hybrid position that encouraged a league-wide trend toward putting certain bigger defensive backs as a pseudo-linebacker.

No surgery was needed on the injury.

“I’m going to come back stronger next year,” Bucannon said the day after the season.

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