Fitzger­ald ex­plains his timetable for de­ci­sion

The Arizona Republic - - Nfl - Bob Mc­Mana­man

Car­di­nals wide re­ceiver Larry Fitzger­ald ap­peared on Sir­iusXM NFL Ra­dio on Sun­day and of­fered a lit­tle in­sight as to how and why he’s tak­ing his time be­fore de­cid­ing on whether to re­turn for a 16th sea­son with the franchise.

“There’s a check­list I al­ways go through and some­times I’m able to get to my con­clu­sion faster than oth­ers,” Fitzger­ald said. “I have to do my due dili­gence in terms of just tak­ing some time to let your body heal be­cause when you’re sore and your fin­gers are bro­ken, it’s easy to say, ‘Man, I just don’t want to do this any­more. My body’s hurt­ing.’

“You have to give your­self some time to de­com­press and take a step back.”

Fitzger­ald, 35, is not un­der con­tract for 2019 and could sign with any NFL team that wants him come free agency in March. How­ever, he re­it­er­ated that he has no in­ten­tions of play­ing for any team other than the Car­di­nals, who fin­ished 3-13 this past sea­son.

“I re­ally en­joy play­ing in Ari­zona,” he said. “Aside from the record, the way man­age­ment is, (Gen­eral Man­ager) Steve Keim and (team Pres­i­dent) Michael Bid­will, and just the state of Ari­zona, they’ve al­ways been good to me.’’

As to when he might make a de­ci­sion about his fu­ture, Fitzger­ald said he is mind­ful of the team’s con­tin­u­ing ef­forts to fill out the coach­ing staff and that the time to pos­si­bly dis­cuss a new deal with the team will present it­self soon enough.

“I’ll sit down and talk to Mr. Bid­will and we’ll fig­ure out what’s go­ing to hap­pen from there,” Fitzger­ald said. “I know there’s a lot go­ing on back home, new coaches and things are be­ing hired, so he’s busy do­ing that and ob­vi­ously the franchise’s fu­ture is most im­por­tant, so I’m just go­ing to take a lit­tle time un­til every­thing slows down a bit.”

Cards hire OL coach, other as­sis­tants

The Car­di­nals on Sun­day an­nounced the hir­ings of four more as­sis­tant coaches to new head coach Kliff Kings­bury’s staff. They are Sean Ku­gler as of­fen­sive line coach, Brian Natkin as as­sis­tant of­fen­sive line coach, David Raih as wide re­ceivers coach and Steve Hei­den, who will re­turn as tight ends coach.

Ku­gler, 52, spent this past sea­son as of­fen­sive line coach for the Bron­cos, work­ing pri­mar­ily with Den­ver’s guards and cen­ters. He was the head coach at UTEP from 2013-17 and has prior NFL ex­pe­ri­ence as an of­fen­sive line and tight ends coach with the Lions (2001-05), the Bills (2007-09) and Steel­ers (201012).

Ray Brown, who coached the Car­di­nals’ of­fen­sive line in 2018, was re­lieved of his du­ties on Dec. 31 when the team fired head coach Steve Wilks and the ma­jor­ity of his staff.

Natkin, 40, spent last sea­son as the of­fen­sive line coach and run-game co­or­di­na­tor at Hutchin­son (Kansas) Com­mu­nity Col­lege and is a 13-year coach­ing vet­eran who spent six sea­sons (2012-17) at his alma mater, UTEP, as the Min­ers’ of­fen­sive line coach, tight ends coach, spe­cial teams co­or­di­na­tor and of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor.

Raih, 38, coached with Kings­bury at Texas Tech in 2013 as the as­sis­tant quar­ter­backs and re­ceivers coach.

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