Josh Weinfuss, ESPN Staff Writer 40d

Larry Fitzgerald's Hall of Fame clock started with first snap Sunday

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Larry Fitzgerald's induction to the Pro Football Hall of Fame can begin in T-minus four seasons and 16 weeks.

As of now.

The clock on Fitzgerald's five-year waiting period before he's eligible for the Hall of Fame officially began Sunday around 1 p.m. ET when the Arizona Cardinals' season opener kicked off against the Tennessee Titans. As long as Fitzgerald doesn't play a snap this season, he will remain on track for induction in 2026. If he signs somewhere and plays just one snap this season, his Hall of Fame wait will restart. If he signs with a team but doesn't play, his clock will remain ticking.

Fitzgerald is currently an unrestricted free agent after spending all 17 seasons of his NFL career with the Cardinals. He hasn't officially retired, but that doesn't factor into the Hall of Fame's clock.

Fitzgerald is expected to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. He sits second on the NFL's all-time receiving yards and receptions list behind Jerry Rice, and is an 11-time Pro Bowler.

Fitzgerald said recently that he misses the camaraderie of being with the team but insisted he's "in a good place," even if the idea of not playing anymore hasn't set in yet. He's able to spend time with family during a part of the year he normally can't. He's traveling and playing golf now instead of diving into game plans each week.

"The desire to play is the same as it's been and I'm very comfortable with that," Fitzgerald said on SiriusXM's "Let's Go," in reference to his August comments that he doesn't have the "urge" to play right now. "But, you never know what tomorrow holds.

"Right now, I'm very content. I'm very content."

However, at least one of Fitzgerald's teammates doesn't think he'll stay away.

Left tackle D.J. Humphries said last week that not having Fitzgerald around "is still weird for me." He won't believe that Fitzgerald is done with football until the season's over -- and even then he'll have his doubts. Humphries thinks Fitzgerald has the "pull" to come back at some point during the season -- even as late as Week 17 -- to ride a potential playoff run with the Cardinals.

"I'm not believing that he's not playing football until the season's over," Humphries said. "And even then, I wouldn't be surprised if he comes back next year."

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