Larry Fitzgerald on Jerry Rice's mark: 'I don't think the record's attainable'

ByJosh Weinfuss ESPN logo
Monday, December 14, 2015

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Larry Fitzgerald is 544 receptions behind all-time leader Jerry Rice -- too big a gap for the 32-year-old Cardinals wide receiver to make up in his eyes before the end of his career, whenever that time comes.

"I don't think the record's attainable," Fitzgerald, who has 1,005 catches as he nears the end of his 12th NFL season, told

Fitzgerald, who became the youngest receiver to have 1,000 career catches in NFL history on Dec. 6, is on pace to finish this season with 118 catches, which would give him 1,027 career catches.

Rice reached the 1,000-catch milestone when he was 34 and caught 571 passes after turning that age.

Fitzgerald pointed out to that Rice was blessed to be able to catch passes from two of the best quarterbacks in NFL history (Joe Montana and Steve Young) for most of his career (with the San Francisco 49ers) and "then, those guys are gone and he goes from a Pro Bowl quarterback [Jeff Garcia, with the 49ers] to another MVP [Rich Gannon, with theOakland Raiders]."

If Fitzgerald wanted to chase down Rice's record, he'd had have to average at least 104 catches per year for the next five years. That comes out to just more than 6.5 catches per game.

Fitzgerald is under contract with the Cardinals through next season and "that's all he is committing to now," according to The eight-time Pro Bowler is on pace for the most receptions in a single season of his career and the fifth-most yards in a single season -- unless he has a few more 100-yard games between Week 15 and the end of the regular season.

Fitzgerald is neck-and-neck on the all-time receptions list with Dallas tight end Jason Witten, who became the 12th player with 1,000 catches a day after Fitzgerald hit the mark. Witten is currently 10th on the all-time list with 1,008.

They are just two of four active players among the top 11. Free agent Reggie Wayne (1,070) is seventh and the Indianapolis Colts' Andre Johnson (1,043) is eighth. But Fitzgerald is also the youngest.