TEMPE, Ariz. — Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald said his mind wandered to dark places and he started preparing for the worst-case scenario during his 13-day quarantine at home because of the coronavirus.
Fitzgerald, 37, was put on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Thanksgiving. He started feeling symptoms two days later, and they continued through the weekend and into that Monday.
“I think the scariest part, and I think anybody that’s had it, is nobody really can give you any answers,” Fitzgerald said. “You learn new information every single day. You feel symptoms and you ask, and nobody really can tell you, ‘It’s gonna be better,’ or, ‘This is how long it would usually last.’
“I mean, there’s no real answer, so your mind kind of wonders and you’re sitting at home, and you’re watching TV and you see the cases and you see the deaths across the nation, and all these things are running through your mind and, obviously, you worry. But, fortunately, I was able to get through it and I feel much better.”
He added: “You really kind of just re-evaluate things, and it makes you really appreciate the health that you have and talking to your kids every day and to see their concern.”
Fitzgerald, who was activated from the list Tuesday, said he still has trouble tasting and smelling, and he lost 9 pounds during his quarantine. While at home, Fitzgerald said he revised his will and estate planning, along with other projects that he said he had been procrastinating on. He also read a lot.
“It wasn’t anything out of the ordinary,” Fitzgerald said. “I was productive with the time at the house. When you have that kind of time to literally do nothing and no obligations, you tend to try to fill it with things that you need to get done, so I guess I was as productive as you could be during that time.”
While he was getting things done around the house, Fitzgerald said he didn’t ponder his football future. He had a more pressing issue at hand.
“It was more so the immediate future, like, you know, staying alive and things of that nature,” Fitzgerald said. “Football, and how long I play football, didn’t really cross my mind.”
Fitzgerald said he was receiving 200 to 400 text messages and calls a day.
“So, those kind of things really puts put life in perspective, and you really appreciate the things that you do have in life,” he said.
Fitzgerald isn’t sure if or how much he’ll play against the New York Giants on Sunday, but he tried to stay in shape at home through running and “a lot” of Peloton workouts. But with almost a two-week break in the middle of a season, Fitzgerald returned to practice Wednesday feeling “the best I’ve ever felt,” as the break helped a few nagging injuries heal.
Watching football on TV while he was away also helped Fitzgerald see the game from a different perspective.
“When you’re playing in the game, you’re really concerned about what your job is and what you need to be doing and how you can be effective to help your team,” Fitzgerald said. “When you’re actually taking a step back, a bird’s-eye view, you see a lot more.
“… You do see things that you normally wouldn’t see when you’re playing, and actually it was pretty helpful to be able to observe from a distance.”