Considering Larry Fitzgerald’s concussion-fueled plight this week — the wide receiver is expected to play Sunday, although coach Bruce Arians said he still had to go through his official final step of the concussion protocol later Friday and he will officially be questionable — how players hit each other during a game might mean a little more to Fitz.
(And as a quick aside, watching replays of the onside kick hit Fitz took from Tennessee’s Jackie Battle, I didn’t think it was bad at all. It was helmet to helmet out of circumstance more than anything as Fitz curled to protect the ball and Battle’s helmet happened to be in the wrong place. I actually am surprised Battle didn’t try to get him harder. Fitzgerald said he didn’t consider the hit excessive either. UPDATE: And Battle was not fined on the play, FYI.)
With all this talk about defenseless players and the like, it’s surprised me a little that players themselves don’t take it upon themselves to not crush each other in every circumstance. That’s what happened the first time the Cardinals and Seahawks met. Fitzgerald twice delivered blindside blocks on Seattle defensive backs. They were powerful, sure, but they could have absolutely laid the Seahawk out and Fitz clearly didn’t do that. He made the block necessary but wasn’t looking to hurt the guy.
It was so noticeable that Seahawks coach Pete Carroll even said something: “With an iconic guy like that, I just thought it was really powerful. … It’s still a big hit. But it could have been a colossal collision had he taken full advantage of the opportunity, and he didn’t. His poise and his character demonstrated that he understands. That’s really cool stuff and that’s where the league is going. We can do this.”
Fitzgerald was asked about the hits on the now-suspended Walter Thurmond and Richard Sherman. With Fitz, it wasn’t about being nice but instead understanding what big hits can do these days the way officials are calling games.
“There are many ways to skin a cat,” Fitzgerald said. “In that particular position, on both hits, one was third-and-7, Mike (Floyd) was catching the shallow route. I could’ve knocked him out if I wanted to. Possibly we could have gotten a 15-yard penalty and I would have been fined. I don’t want to set my team back. It would have been third-and-20. We were driving. I didn’t want to hurt my team. That’s my first thinking. I can’t speak for anybody else. I just want to make sure I do everything I can to help my team and not hurt it.”
Tags: Jackie Battle, Larry Fitzgerald, Pete Carroll, Richard Sherman
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