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Larry Fitzgerald shares concerns about concussions but will let his kids play football

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Posted at 2:35 PM, Feb 03, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-03 16:35:10-05

Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer has started 31 of the team's last 32 games. The one he missed came last season, and it was due to concussion symptoms.

Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald, who announced earlier this week that he will return to play for the Cards next season, said concerns about head injuries are one of the reasons he contemplated retirement after the 2016 season.

"It's high on the list," Fitzgerald said during Mike & Mike on ESPN Radio on Friday. "The research on the brain is really not even that hold. It's 15, maybe 20 years old; on the grand scale of things, that's not that long. There's new information coming out all the time. 

"You want to make sure you're able to play ball with your kids and be a grandfather one day, and have all your faculties. I think that's always something that comes into play."

New research on the long-term effects of concussions on former NFL players has caused some players to question whether they should allow their children to play football. Fitzgerald, who has two sons, shares those concerns but said he'll let his kids play football because of the life lessons he learned when his parents allowed him to play.

"My son now, he wants to play. He's champing at the bit, and I'm not going to tell him he can't play, because my parents never told me, 'You can't do this,'" he said. "They always encouraged me to do what my heart desired, and I'm going to do the same for my sons. I'm going to support them and I'm going to make sure I watch them and make sure he's tackling the proper way."

Fitzgerald is encouraged by an NFL-sponsored campaign called Heads Up Football that teaches youth football players how to tackle properly, avoid head injuries and be safer on the field.

"I would hate to take my sons and not allow them to learn so many of the great principles that I was taught as a young player -- just the teamwork, accountability," he said.

"You're going to get knocked down in life. It's not OK to lay down; you've got to get up and continue to fight. I learned some great, great things competing in the game -- things I think my sons will learn from and make them a better man, as well."