Mature Fitzgerald Reinvents Role
For more than a decade now, Larry Fitzgerald has been the face of the franchise for the Arizona Cardinals. While that may still be true from a fans standpoint, he knows as well as anyone that his role has been modified since the days of being able to blow by opponents with his gazelle like speed. Now 32 years old, Fitzgerald has carved out a role as a possession receiver. Last season he hauled in 63 catches for 784 yards. He only saw the end zone twice, but was still productive with 39 of his catches being first downs. Bruce Arians’ offense has found different ways to use Larry, setting him in motion for example to confuse defenses. Of course this production is less than what you could once expect from the future Hall of Famer, but he remains committed to helping any way he can. Where other aging receivers have asked for a trade or demanded to remain the number one option, Fitz is content with mentoring guys like John Brown and Michael Floyd. During a preseason game this year he was asked to be interviewed on the sidelines. He brought John Brown with him to the microphone and let everyone watching know that Brown was part of the future in Arizona, talk about class. He restructured his deal in the offseason in order to help the organization and remain a Cardinal for life. The Minnesota native does a lot of charitable work off the field and as a result was the recipient of the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award in 2012. He could hang it up tomorrow and be confident that he is headed to Canton, with career stats of 909 catches, 12,151 yards and 89 touchdowns. He’s a guy you can’t help but root for and although he may not be a top choice for your fantasy team anymore, I doubt there is any NFL team that would not be lucky to have him, even now.
Kevin McQuade covers the NFL for MFST, you can follow him on twitter @kmcquade9.