Why Isn’t Larry Fitzgerald Playing in the Cardinals’ Must-Win Season Finale Against the Rams?

Larry Fitzgerald has possibly played his final game in the NFL.

The future Hall-of-Fame wide receiver will be inactive for the Arizona Cardinals‘ season finale against the Los Angeles Rams Sunday. Fitzgerald will need his team to win or get some unlikely help to have another chance to play this year. And at 37 years old, Fitzgerald may very well retire after this season, so he’ll need his teammates to step up in his absence.

So, why is Fitzgerald inactive Sunday, and what does the future hold for the Cardinals legend?

The Cardinals are fighting for their playoff lives

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The Cardinals have a solid 8-7 record through 15 games this season, but their playoff hopes are still up in the air heading into the season finale against the Rams. Arizona can punch its postseason ticket by simply beating the Rams on Sunday. They can also still clinch a berth with some help, but it’s a longshot.

If the Cardinals lose this Sunday, they’re out of the playoffs no matter what. But in the event of a tie against the Rams, Arizona can still get in as the No. 7 seed in the NFC if the Chicago Bears lose to the Green Bay Packers on Sunday afternoon. That scenario is highly unlikely, so the Cardinals are essentially in a must-win situation this week.

If Arizona wants to make the playoffs this season, they’ll have to do so without their future Hall-of-Fame receiver.

Larry Fitzgerald will miss the season finale due to a groin injury

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The Cardinals will need all the help they can get on Sunday to make it past the Rams and clinch a postseason berth, but that help won’t be coming in the form of Larry Fitzgerald.

Fitzgerald was ruled inactive just over an hour before Arizona’s season finale was scheduled to begin. The wide receiver has been nursing a groin injury for two weeks, and he’s in too much pain to give it a go this Sunday.

This will mark the first game Fitzgerald will miss due to injury since 2014. It will be just the ninth game the WR will miss since joining the NFL in 2004.

The Cardinals will also be without speedy receiver Christian Kirk after he landed on the COVID list earlier this week. It will be the DeAndre Hopkins show on Sunday.

Has Larry Fitzgerald played in his last NFL game?

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If the Cardinals lose to the Rams in Week 17, Larry Fitzgerald will have played in his final NFL game of the season. It’s also possible he’s played the final game of his pro career.

Fitzgerald will turn 38 this summer. He’s already showing signs of regression in his old age, as the WR has recorded a career-low 409 receiving yards and just one touchdown in 2020. Fitzgerald could easily call it quits after the season wraps up. If we’ve seen the last of Larry Fitz in the NFL, it’s truly been a pleasure.