Arians shared his thoughts in response to a question at the NFL owners meetings in Boca Raton, Florida, on Wednesday about how much longer the 32-year-old Fitzgerald could keep playing.
“Fitz, physically, can go,” Arians said. “Whether or not he wants to mentally probably would depend on this season, I would imagine knowing him.
“If we win the Super Bowl, I would imagine he’d walk out just like Peyton. It will be his decision.”
Fitzgerald is coming off a season in which he set a career high with 109 receptions and had 1,000 receiving yards for the first time since 2011. During the season, Fitzgerald became the youngest player in NFL history to reach 1,000 career catches.
It took Fitzgerald until his third year in Arians’ scheme to break out into the Fitzgerald of old, who had five straight 1,000-yard seasons from 2007-2011. And he did it as his new role in the offense continued to evolve.
“I’m really proud of him,” Arians said. “He was asked to do something that was not easy – move inside and become a blocker. And for a highly decorated wideout that ain’t easy to become Hines [Ward]. Hines was always that. Reggie [Wayne] bought in and did it.”
Arians said he had Wayne call Fitzgerald to “tell him it ain’t that bad.”
“They talked and he bought in,” Arians said of Fitzgerald.
“He doesn’t always play in the slot like everybody thinks. He was a wideout on most downs. When you learn to play in there, you can still get 100 balls that you may not get outside.”