Houston (CBS HOUSTON) – Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald joined “The Triple Threat” Friday evening on Radio Row.
Fitzgerald, a 10-time Pro Bowler and one-time First-team All Pro, recently decided to return to the league for a 14th season, is coming off back to back 100-plus catch and 1000-plus yard seasons.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame is likely already making room for his bust in Canton, Ohio.
Speculation has grown in recent weeks, that his quarterback for the last 4 seasons, Carson Palmer, who would enter his age 38 season and 14th season overall, could be contemplating retirement.
Fitzgerald says he hopes Palmer is back with the team, as he credits him for injecting life back into his career.
“He revived me, I was on life support when Carson got out here and he’s done an unbelievable job not only with me but David Johnson but Michael Floyd who was with us. He does a great job of getting the ball and distributing it to guys and making it a catchable ball too. He’s pin-point accurate, especially inside with me in the slot, he knows how to protect his guys, he’s a true professional and we hope that he’ll be playing for another year or two.”
There are those that believe with Fitzgerald coming back for a 14th season, Palmer will follow suit, but the Cardinals are not expected to leave anything to chance. Recent reports indicate Palmer has put his Arizona home up for sale, and the Cardinals are reportedly very interested in Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson.
Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians’ name came up in the course of conversation, and Fitzgerald made sure to impart on the audience, that if he appreciates Arians for anything, it’s certainly his honesty.
“He wears his emotions on his sleeve. There’s never a time where you don’t know exactly what he’s feeling,” Fitzgerald said. “He’s going to be honest with you he’s going to tell you exactly like it is, you’re going to ask him a question, you might not like the answer but he’s always going to be honest and you can respect a coach that does that.”
Fitzgerald knows a thing or two about respect. He’s earned plenty of it through his previous 13 years in the NFL, but it didn’t come by way of amassing more than fourteen thousand yards receiving and 104 touchdowns.
Fitzgerald says his father, Larry Fitzgerald Sr., who is a longtime sportswriter in Minnesota, taught him to become the man he is today.
“His hands are all over me,” Fitzgerald said proudly. “He was unbelievable in terms of just teaching us hard work, dedication, just being respectful to people and carrying yourself the right way. A lot of the things he did he never even had to say it, he just involved us in it.”
That involvement early on in Fitzgerald’s life by his father has certainly paid dividends, as did the inspiration his mother Carol gave him in her fight with breast cancer.
Fitzgerald’s mother passed away in 2003, and he still honors her to this day through work he does with the “Carol Fitzgerald Memorial Fund”, which helps educate urban youth about HIV/AIDS and breast cancer issues.
The selfless nature of Larry Fitzgerald the private man, is certainly not lost in his profession, as he’s always looking to deflect the attention away from him, and have his teammates shine.
It was on full display Friday evening when the guys asked him about his thoughts on Canton, Ohio being the topper on a great career.
“I think that’s the Holy Grail, you think about it down the road,” Fitzgerald said. “It’s not something that crosses my mind on a daily basis. I honestly don’t even really like to talk about. I’m really close with Kurt warner and I know the anxiety he feels every year. I hope this is his year, and he’s able to break through the finish line because he’s truly deserving. I knew Cris Carter when he was waiting for his opportunity, its gut wrenching and you want it so badly for those guys.”
Fitzgerald coming off of two of his better seasons in recent years may have to put Canton on hold for a bit longer if he continues to contribute like he has been.
The soon to be 1-year veteran says while his body isn’t what it used to be, he’s able to keep an advantage on the defense by the way he’s learned to mentally prepare.
“Pre-snap I’m able to digest things earlier. I know when I’m getting the football, I know when I have man in my motion, so I can beat you more so with my mind knowing where the strengths are, knowing where the weaknesses are, as opposed to running up the sideline and taking balls off of guys heads like you see Julio Jones doing these days now.”
However much long Larry Fitzgerald decides to play, one thing is for sure, he’ll end it as one of the very best to do what he does.