As if the Cardinals season crashing and burning one game shy of the playoffs wasn't a tough enough pill to swallow, the thought of this being the way Larry Fitzgerald's Hall of Fame career comes to an end is hard to stomach.
"I haven't even wrapped my head around thinking about him not being here," said Cardinals offensive tackle D.J. Humphries. "I don't even want to think about that, man."
Cardinals defensive line coach Brentson Buckner alluded to this being the end for Fitzgerald in a since-deleted tweet after the game.
Buckner tried to walk back his tweet, saying he misspoke and everyone read what they wanted to read, but that message is as clear as day.
Maybe Buckner knows something nobody else does, but in recent years, Fitzgerald has taken some time to collect his thoughts before making a decision.
"I talked to him today, and it'll be a while before anybody knows. He's got a lot to think about," said head coach Kliff Kingsbury. "We all want him back. He knows that we all know he can still be a force on the field when he's feeling good and healthy and doing what he can do."
Pro Bowl safety Budda Baker joked that he was hopeful the 37-year-old wide receiver would stick around for his whole career.
"I can't say enough about that guy," added Humphries. "All the things I learned from him on and off the field, things I've watched him do and how he moves, and the way he prepares himself and handles his business. I could talk about Larry all day, I could tell stories about Larry all day, but I hope that's not true."
The Cardinals should be a playoff team at bare minimum next season, possibly even more. Considering Fitzgerald has only been to the playoffs four times in his 17-year career, would he walk away from one more chance to chase a Super Bowl ring? Instead, choosing to end his playing days in an empty stadium, having missed three of the team's final six games?
But Fitzgerald made it clear long ago, he was never going to have a farewell tour. Perhaps we need to look no further than what he said last year following the final home game against the Browns.
"It's a job, and I love what I do, but when it's over, it's over. And I'm not gonna lose any sleep. Man, I've got a lot of great things ahead of me," Fitzgerald said in December 2019.
A few weeks ago, Fitzgerald said this year has been challenging for him personally. Maybe enough is enough. He certainly has nothing left to prove. And when that Canton clock does officially start counting, Larry Legend won't have to wait long to forever take his place among the game's greats.
If this was in fact the last ride, thanks for the memories Fitz. What a ride it was.