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Larry Fitzgerald 'excited' for next season but has 'no idea' what's expected of him

Posted at 2:59 PM, Mar 28, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-29 11:54:57-04

Arizona Cardinals fans rejoiced when wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald announced he would return for a 15th NFL season -- but many also have a great deal of uncertainty about what the 2018 Cardinals will look like.

The future Hall of Famer can relate.

"To a certain degree, it’s an exciting time for me because the last six years I’ve understood what’s expected of me. Now, I have no idea," Fitzgerald said in an interview with ABC15's Craig Fouhy.

Few teams have undergone a more dramatic offseason transition than the Cardinals have: a new coaching staff, a new starting quarterback and the departures of key players and fan favorites such as Tyrann Mathieu.

"Every year is difficult because your team changes," Fitzgerald said. "We lose (wide receivers) John Brown and Jaron Brown and Brittan Golden... We’ve got to get acclimated with a brand-new quarterback and coaching staff and offense."

The whirlwind of changes for the Cardinals began with coach Bruce Arians and quarterback Carson Palmer announcing their retirement just 24 hours apart in early January. Both men had been with the team since 2013.

Fitz said he was aware of their retirement plans ahead of time.

"I’m very close with Coach and obviously very close with Carson, so I understood you have to make decisions based on what you want to do and what’s best for you," Fitzgerald said.

"I love both of those guys and I’m going to sorely miss them. I still talk to them all the time. But we’ve still got a race to run here."

Fitzgerald is set to play for his fourth head coach in Arizona and his first new head coach in six years: Steve Wilks, who previously served as the defensive coordinator of the Carolina Panthers. Wilks brought in former Chargers head coach Mike McCoy as the team's new offensive coordinator, replacing Harold Goodwin, who came to Arizona with Arians in 2013.

At quarterback, the Cardinals signed veteran free-agent Sam Bradford who, like Palmer, is a former Heisman Trophy winner. Fitz and Bradford don't know each other well.

"I know him in passing. I got a chance to talk to him on several occasions over the years," Fitzgerald said. "I wouldn’t say he’s a close friend, but I’m looking forward to getting out there and working with him, and gaining his trust."

Fitzgerald knows some things, such as his on-field performance, are within his control. Others, like the Cardinals' offseason moves, are not.

That's why he's content to focus on other ventures for now, such as his celebrity softball game in April, and let the cards -- no pun intended -- fall where they may.

"(The offseason is) not the most fun part of the year for me, but it’s part of the drill," he said. "It's March. September's a long way away.

"I know (general manager) Steve Keim will do a good job of drafting, and free agency is still hot and heavy right now, so we’re going to figure out what the move’s going to be."