Cardinals veteran wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald has tested position for COVID-19 and will miss Sunday’s game at the Patriots, according a report by NFL Media’s Mike Garafolo and Tom Pelissero.
Garafolo and Pelissero, citing an unnamed source, did not provide any other details. The Cardinals did not immediately issue any announcement regarding the news and it was unknown if Fitzgerald could have had a false-positive test.
On Tuesday, the Cardinals announced they had placed safety Deionte Thompson on the reserve/COVID-19 list, meaning he either tested positive for the virus or came within close contact of someone who has contracted COVID-19.
On Wednesday, Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury said the team was fairly confident, due to contract-tracing protocols, that Thompson would be the only player to go on the reserve/COVID-19 list, saying, “We feel pretty good about where we’re at right now.”
Fitzgerald, 37, hasn’t missed a game since the 2014 season, when a sprained MCL ended his consecutive games-played streak at 110. He missed two game that year. Previously, he last missed a game during Week 13 of the 2007 season.
Sunday’s game at Gillette Stadium would mark just the seventh time he’s missed a game in his 17-year career.
If Fitzgerald doesn’t play, it likely would mean more opportunities for Andy Isabella, Trent Sherfield or possibly KeeSean Johnson. Kyler Murray’s top two targets will be DeAndre Hopkins and Christian Kirk.
During a video conference call with reporters on Wednesday, Fitzgerald said he was looking forward to getting off to a hot start against the Patriots and longtime coach Bill Belichick. The Cardinals (6-4), after all, have only scored a touchdown once this season on their opening possession of a game.
“It’ll be nice to move the football, go down and put together a great seven- to eight-play scoring drive just to really set the game up and put ourselves in the driver’s seat early as opposed to only doing it when our backs are against the wall,” he said. “I would be nice to have that complete head start with you when you go on the field.
“There’s no better time to start than this week. Let’s go out and score points in the first quarter and continue the onslaught. That would be great.”
Fitzgerald is second on the team in receptions (43) behind Hopkins (72) and he ranks third on the club in receiving yards (336). He has yet to catch a touchdown this season.
An 11-time Pro Bowl selection, Fitzgerald ranks second in NFL history in career receptions (1,421) and receiving yards (17,419) and is sixth with 120 touchdown receptions. He has caught at least one pass in 254 consecutive games, the second-longest such streak in league history.
During his video chat with reporters Wednesday, Fitzgerald touched on what it was like for the NFL to continue playing despite frequent spikes in positive COVID-19 tests throughout the league during the ongoing pandemic.
“All of us ever very thankful to be able to do what we do,” he said. “If you would have told me in June that we would be here in Week 11 or 12 of the season and we’re still rolling as a league, I would have told you that’s probably 50-50 with everything that’s going on.
“We’re clearly not out of the water with the way things are going, but thankful to be able to come here and do the work that we’re doing and be around the men I’m around and happy to have friends and family healthy. We knew a lot of Americans have suffered over these last few months and our thoughts and prayers are with them as a team and an organization.
“I just hope everyone has a happy holidays.”
Have an opinion on the Arizona Cardinals? Reach McManaman at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @azbobbymac. Listen to him live on Fox Sports 910-AM every Tuesday afternoon at 3:30 on Calling All Sports with Roc and Manuch.
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