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Larry Fitzgerald 'uncertain' of 2017 return to Cardinals

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After a Week 15 loss to the Saints dropped the Cardinals to a disappointing 5-8-1, Carson Palmer confirmed that he expects to return to Arizona for another season in 2017.

While the veteran quarterback is not yet pondering retirement, wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald was noncommittal on his future plans Sunday night.

Prior to Week 1, Fitzgerald had told people close to him that he expected 2016 to be his last season, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported in early September.

Is he still leaning in that direction?

In a Monday night interview with Westwood One's Jim Gray, the future Hall of Famer failed to shed light on his retirement thoughts.

"I wouldn't say that I'm contemplating it right now," Fitzgerald said, via the team's official website, "but I'm uncertain of what I am going to do moving forward. I still love the game, I love the competition, I love being around the guys and competing for a championship.

"That's a lot of fun for me. That's kind of where I am at right now. I'm really just focused on these last two games."

Fitzgerald and Palmer each signed one-year contract extensions early in last summer's training camp. That announcement came shortly after the nine-time Pro Bowl wideout assured NFL Total Access that he still has "a lot of good football" left in his body.

The Cardinals' venerable leader has made good on that declaration, leading the NFL with 98 receptions through 14 games. While John "Smokey" Brown has disappointed and Michael Floyd has been released, Fitzgerald has carried Palmer's aerial attack with a series of spectacular diving catches.

Would he seriously consider walking away from the game he's still playing at such a high level?

"I don't play for the personal accolades or catches or yards," Fitzgerald explained. "Those are all wonderful footnotes at the end of the day but Jim, you know, you've been around sports a long time. You play to win. And when you are sitting at home, watching other teams compete for a championship that you so dearly want, it puts a bitter, bitter taste in your mouth."

Fitzgerald has earned the right to hang up his cleats whenever he sees fit. If the Cardinals want to coax the 33-year-old back for another run at that elusive championship, though, they must find a way to protect Palmer, fix Brown and rebuild a back-breaking special teams unit. It would hurt to add a reliable veteran cornerback and figure out how to pay defensive stars Chandler Jones, Calais Campbell and Tony Jefferson.

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