Larry Fitzgerald is at home in Minnesota for a few more days, leading the way in his annual summer workouts at the University of Minnesota. So, given the fact Fitz puts on his own celebrity softball game every spring, why wouldn’t Major League Baseball invite Fitz to play a little left-centerfield for the National League in Monday’s celebrity and legends softball game paired with the Home Run Derby.
Not sure about Fitz’s actual line, but his N.L. team won, 14-4, and I saw Fitz ground a single up the middle when ESPN replayed the game late Monday night and my sons for some reason had the game on TV. I’ll give Fitz this, he’s come a long way from when he took BP with the Diamondbacks a couple of years ago.
Tags: Larry Fitzgerald
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— Larry Fitzgerald (@LarryFitzgerald) July 14, 2014
— Kevin Millar (@KMillar15) July 14, 2014
Tags: Adrian Peterson, Arizona Cardinals, AZ Cardinals, AZ Cards, Larry Fitzgerald, MLB, MLB All Star Game, NFL
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Randomly found this video the other day that works well for a #throwbackThursday: Larry Fitzgerald high school highlights and interview from his time in Minnesota playing for the Academy of Holy Angels — even before he had chosen to play at the University of Pittsburgh. Funny, the way he talks and acts, he’s not a whole lot different some 14 years later. Speaking of Minnesota (and a throwback), here’s a story I did a couple years back on Fitz’s Minnesota roots.
Tags: Larry Fitzgerald
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As promised, the ESPN Magazine called “The Body Issue” has been released and Larry Fitzgerald is one of the featured athletes. A video and interview with Fitz can be found here, and while I’m not going to break down any photos of Fitz au naturel (there is a pic from the magazine below), there were a couple of answers in the interview that caught my eye. (Other than the line about how random older ladies occasionally grab his butt in the mall.)
One, that Fitz wears gloves — post practice. Usually, in practice, he just tapes up his thumbs. “Every day after practice I put gloves on — they are these really tight, stiff mitts, and they make you work extremely hard to close and open your hands,” Fitz says. “It strengthens my hands, especially the thumbs — your thumbs are really what control your grip.”
The other isn’t as much of a surprise as a confirmation of where Fitz’s mindset is even a decade into his NFL career. “I’m obsessed with my craft,” he said. “I just want to squeeze every single drop out of the lemon that I possibly can. I don’t want to have any regrets, and to this point I can sleep at night.”
Tags: ESPN, Larry Fitzgerald
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Offensively, the Cardinals need to take a step forward this year. They need to so they don’t pressure the defense as much as last year (especially after some unknowns with defensive changes) and they need to so they can keep up in the NFC West arms race. Good news – there is a confidence there it will happen. Who are the guys who will be at the forefront of that plan? Here’s my guess, at least for the regular-season opener. (If you want to see the defensive picks, click here.)
QB – Carson Palmer. Biggest question around Palmer at this point? What happens in 2015, considering Palmer is scheduled to be a free agent after the season. But he is the guy the Cards will ride or die with this season.
RB – Andre Ellington. No-brainer. He’s earned the right, and we’ll see about the touches per game, which I will guess will be 20 to 22 a game.
WR – Larry Fitzgerald. Big year for Fitz, who scored last year like he once did but is still searching for his first 1,000-yard season since 2011 and who is coming to a crossroads – along with the franchise – with his contract in 2015.
WR – Michael Floyd. He’s a star on the rise. He played well last year, and he should be better this season. The third wide receiver should be Ted Ginn, but I fully expect John Brown to at least have a chance to play a role in the offense.
TE – John Carlson. This is assuming he stays healthy, but Carlson has looked good in the offseason and could prove to be a very nice bargain.
TE – Jake Ballard. At some point – maybe not until 2015 – this will be Troy Niklas’ spot. The rookie is far behind right now. Rob Housler still has a chance to work his way into the lineup. But right now, Ballard is feeling good with his knee and he is closer to the blocker that Arians likes.
LT – Jared Veldheer. The left tackle they have always wanted.
LG – Jonathan Cooper. He’s going to be back to health. Time for the 2013 first round pick to get his time on the field and show why the brass so believes in him.
C – Lyle Sendlein. Old reliable is what they want in the middle.
RG – Earl Watford. Paul Fanaika has been running first unit and there is also veteran Ted Larsen lurking as a possibility. But the Cardinals are hoping Watford comes around and takes control of a job he was drafted to have.
RT – Bobby Massie. Another wide open spot. There’s always a possibility of a late-summer free agent signing. Bradley Sowell isn’t go to go away. But Massie has looked better in the offseason work and in a lot of ways, this is probably his last chance to take ahold of the place he held as a rookie.
So that’s that. There will be a lot of time and practices between now and the opener. Injuries happen. Battles will be won or lost. We will see how this guesstimate (educated as it might be) holds up.
Tags: Andre Ellington, Bobby Massie, Bradley Sowell, Carson Palmer, Earl Watford, Jake Ballard, Jared Veldheer, John Brown, John Carlson, Jonathan Cooper, Larry Fitzgerald, Lyle Sendlein, Michael Floyd, Paul Fanaika, Rob Housler, Ted Ginn, Troy Niklas
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The Cardinals have their third and (likely) final player in the NFL Network’s Top 100 of 2014 after Wednesday night’s unveiling of cornerback Patrick Peterson at No. 22 on the list. He follows linebacker Daryl Washington at 96 and wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald at 38.
Peterson has made a steady climb. He was 55th in 2012 after his rookie season, 33rd last year and now 22. In the constant chatter of who is better, Peterson will end up lower ranked than Seattle’s Richard Sherman, who has yet to be picked (but is certain to fall in the top 20 after his 2014 season.) But he is ahead of Darrelle Revis (37) and Joe Haden (39). Whatever and however people might want to pick at him this offseason, clearly many of his peers feel he’s pretty good. That’s clear in the video.
With everything that’s been said about Peterson this offseason, it will be interesting to watch how he plays this season – and whether Peterson can climb higher on the list next June.
Tags: Daryl Washington, Larry Fitzgerald, NFL Network, Patrick Peterson
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Every year, ESPN the magazine puts out “The Body Issue,” their answer to Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit issue — the difference being ESPN uses athletes and does not use swimsuits. Just … well, their bodies. And this year, one of the bodies happens to belong to Larry Fitzgerald.
There are no photos out there yet. The issue is due to hit newsstands July 11 (and mailboxes right before that.) But in a video ESPN did to tease the issue, you indeed see a brief clip of Fitz during his shoot. I managed to capture a screen shot off the web video, which you can see here (Sorry it’s a link and not posted at the bottom, but this is a family website after all). I am a little surprised Fitz decided to do something like this, but he said in a text message this morning “It’s tastefully done.”
Certainly, Fitz is a guy who keeps in excellent shape. He’s in Minnesota right now, about to train as he always does in the dead time before camp. He may be heading directly toward his 31st birthday, but his conditioning and frame are as good as they always were.
There was one funny thing that struck me about the video. At the tail end, as the music fades, you hear one comment: “I can’t believe I’m doing this.” I’ve heard that voice a million times over the years. It was Fitz.
POSTSCRIPT: After I posted this, @CPDizzle on Twitter shot me this link from an ESPN Magazine ad circa 1998. I had to laugh.
Tags: ESPN, Larry Fitzgerald
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For the same reason Larry Fitzgerald keeps making the Pro Bowl — vast respect from his peers — is the same reason the Cardinals receiver again got into the top 40 of NFL players even though his numbers have been down the last couple of years. The NFL Network is again doing their “Top 100″ countdown over the summer, and Fitzgerald clocked in at No. 38 Wednesday night. He’s the second Cardinal to make this year’s list (we won’t talk about who else has already been named.)
Fitzgerald has been falling over the years. In 2012, he was seventh. Last year. he was 22nd. (He was 14th on the initial list in 2011.) There are some high-profile receivers that are behind Fitzgerald on the list, although despite his “low” yardage total of 954 this past season (still much better than 2012′s 798) he did have 10 touchdowns and as you can see on the video, opponents still worry about him. We’ll see if Fitz can find a way to climb up again after this season, with a second year in Bruce Arians’ offense.
The Top 100 list has now reached the top 30. Patrick Peterson should make it in at some point — I’m not sure he tops Richard Sherman again this year, but it’ll be interesting wherever he ends up.
Tags: Daryl Washington, Larry Fitzgerald, NFL Network, Patrick Peterson
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Tags: #StandWithVets, Arizona Cardinals, AZ Cardinals, AZ Cards, Darnell Dockett, Justin Bethel, Larry Fitzgerald, NFL, Tyrann Mathieu
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Bruce Arians said Tuesday’s minicamp practice was the Cardinals’ “best practice so far,” which it notable from the standpoint a) it was pretty freaking hot out there and b) it went longer than an OTA because it’s minicamp and they can go longer. Some of the quick hit notes before I post a Patrick Peterson story later this afternoon:
– Rookie TE Troy Niklas is sidelined again. He had actually returned to the practice field following his hernia surgery that kept him out of the first few OTAs but then got a finger caught and twisted in a jersey last week and broke his hand. And so Niklas goes back to the mental reps, although Arians said Niklas should be ready for training camp.
“It kind of sucks I’m missing out of the reps,” Niklas said. “It’s frustrating. … I feel like I know the offense and I know what to do. Now it’s about teaching my body how to do it.”
– Some good news from the injury front: First-round pick Deone Bucannon was on the field after missing some time with a turf toe. “He needs it psychologically and just to get out and play,” Arians said.
– A couple of high-profile guys out: LB John Abraham, who has sat out almost every OTA so as to not overextend his aging body, reported for minicamp, “threw up a few times,” Arians said, and was sent home. The Cards hope to have him back Wednesday. Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald worked out on the side with strength and conditioning coach Buddy Morris to protect a hamstring that had been giving him some issues.
– Big praise from Arians about safety Tony Jefferson and cornerback Justin Bethel. He even said Bethel could become the Cardinals’ best cornerback at some point given his skill set. We’ll see with Peterson there, but it’s nice to have the confidence of the head coach.
– Who emerges as the starters at right tackle, right guard and tight end can only be determined when the pads go on, Arians reiterated, although he did say Bobby Massie has been “much better” with mental mistakes at right tackle.
– Arians said the reason the Cardinals tried out vet RT Tyson Clabo is because the team is going to look at available bodies, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they would sign someone with the sole reason to be the starter.
– Asked to assess what he had seen out of newly signed linebacker Ernie Sims, Arians had a five-second or so pause before saying “OK. OK.” A ringing endorsement it was not.
– The Cardinals have two more days of minicamp before the veterans are released until training camp.
Tags: Bruce Arians, Deone Bucannon, Ernie Sims, John Abraham, Justin Bethel, Larry Fitzgerald, minicamp, Tony Jefferson, Troy Niklas, Tyson Clabo
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