With his 113 yards last week, Larry Fitzgerald surpassed the 15,000-yard mark in his career. It’s significant in and of itself, since only five other players have ever reached that milestone in their careers. It’s even better for Fitz when he became only the second player ever to have that many yards with one team. Jerry Rice — the NFL’s all-time receiving yards leader, by far, with 22,895 — had 19,247 in his time with the 49ers alone.
Fitz is having another excellent year, one magnified by the fact he’s 34. He needs only 227 more yards to put himself third all-time in the NFL, past Randy Moss. (He doesn’t figure to get another 869 yards this season needed to pass Terrell Owens into second place.) Fitz remains some 50-plus catches ahead of the also-active Jason Witten as having the third-most receptions in NFL history.
The move up the all-time lists, though, makes me think back to the interviews Fitz was giving last season. He is currently 140 catches behind Tony Gonzalez, who is second all-time. (Rice is 364 ahead.) He could shave the Gonzalez lead down to about 100 or so by the end of 2017, but he made clear “I don’t plan on playing that long to catch those guys” just last season. And in the grand scheme, you are reminded again that Fitzgerald has a future to think about, and that his contract runs out at the end of the season. This, by the way, is the latest Fitzgerald has ever gone in his career not having a contract in place for the following season.
UPDATE: How’s this for coincidence. PFT is reporting Fitz and the Cardinals are closing in on a one-year extension. It would not mean Fitzgerald definitely would play in 2018. But if he does, it makes sure it’s with the Cardinals — as if that was ever really a question.
Tags: Jerry Rice, Larry Fitzgerald, Randy Moss, Terrell Owens, Tony Gonzalez
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It’s raining again here in Flagstaff. Hopefully it will stop soon and clear up enough for what is supposed to be the first fully-padded practice of camp later this afternoon. Otherwise they’ll have to go inside, which usually means less contact. The Cards had a quiet morning, with players working out on their own and without meetings. It’ll be the last day like that for a while.
In the meantime:
— We are still looking for Cardinals’ fans to send in pictures in which you are wearing Cardinals’ gear. You could have been anywhere. The top pics will go into a special page in the game program for each of the 10 home games. Send your shots to firstname.lastname@example.org. You must put your name and town from where you are from, and the photos will be chosen based on size and photo quality.
— I know a lot of people are looking for daily opinions of how this guy or that guy looked. I will make mention of specifics I notice but for the most part, I’m not a big believe in the what-did-he-do-today report. These guys are human. If John Skelton overthrows a couple of receivers, it doesn’t mean he has no hope of developing into an NFL QB. If it’s a pattern — or if guys already on the hot seat are doing really well or really not — I’ll make note. But I’m not going overboard here.
— Until we have a chance to catch up with everyone later, here is this anecdote from Matt Leinart on his role in getting Terrell Owens to play for the Bengals (Let me explain). Seems Owens and Leinart have known each other for a few years, and obviously Leinart knows Cincinnati QB Carson Palmer from their days at USC. Leinart got both to attend a charity event this offseason and then let T.O. know he and Palmer, among others, would be working out together in California. Owens decided to take part, he and Palmer hit it off, and Palmer went to bat for Owens to be signed with the Bengals.
“I really do feel partly responsible for that,” Leinart said with a grin. “The rest is history. I think I started the friendship there.”
So for now, get your popcorn ready … for practice this afternoon. As I have been writing this, the rain is letting up. We’ll keep our fingers crossed. UPDATE: No such luck. Wet fields are forcing the Cardinals to practice inside this afternoon.
Tags: Carson Palmer, Matt Leinart, Terrell Owens, training camp
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I had wanted to touch on a couple of other things this morning, but they’ll have to wait given the growing story of Larry Fitzgerald, the Twitter page of his brother Marcus and Fitz getting just four catches Sunday. Marcus Fitzgerald took to Twitter and said some things — not surprising, really coming from a little brother — about Kurt Warner not getting the ball enough to his sibling. The key tweet was one where Marcus said Larry had texted him angry he wasn’t getting the ball more. In the day-plus that has followed, Marcus Fitzgerald apparently backtracked and then deleted the tweets, but by then too many outlets had recounted the situation.
I first saw the remarks early yesterday when a fan noted it on a message board. I thought about mentioning it but I was hoping to talk to Larry first. Instead, it’s blown up nationally (The ironic part of this whole thing is that Larry is on Twitter and he goes out of his way to be as non-controversial as possible).
Look, it’s not a surprise when a good receiver gets irritated when he doesn’t get the ball. You don’t have to be a expert on body language to see when guys like Randy Moss, or Terrell Owens, or Steve Smith, or yes, Fitz and Anquan Boldin, feel they should have had the ball tossed their way. Coach Ken Whisenhunt said Monday Fitzgerald will bring it up sometimes although it’s “never done in a way that is anything other than kind of kidding around.”
Fitz is also careful publicly, which is why — and of course, I am guessing now — he was probably cringing at his brother’s Twitter comments. In the Jacksonville locker room, someone asked Fitz about looking upset at one point in Sunday’s game when he was open down the middle. Fitz smiled and talked about how he was just tired in the humidity and that’s why his body language was what it was. Another reporter, who wasn’t there for the first answer, came up moments later and brought up the same thing, and Fitz again smiled and insisted it just was the weather.
Of course, Fitz had a touchdown in hand by the time the game was over. He could have had a second. The TD pass to running back Jason Wright was designed for Fitz; Wright’s route was supposed to clear the area except the safety covering Wright was so badly beat Warner just threw it to Wright. But if you watch the play, Fitz was wide open right behind Wright (and, personally, looked a bit disappointed Wright stepped in front of him).
But here’s the deal: If indeed little brother is telling the truth (and why would he lie?) and Fitz was upset, it wasn’t Fitz putting it out for public consumption. After the game, Fitzgerald stood in the locker room telling everyone the victory was a huge deal, and if he was ticked at that point, he did a marvelous job to hide it. I’d expect star receivers like Boldin and Fitzgerald to be unhappy if they don’t get the ball. I expect Warner to be unhappy if Whisenhunt suddenly started calling 60 percent run plays. I’d expect Darnell Dockett to be ticked if they suddenly said he had to play nose tackle so someone else could rush the passer.
What you can’t have is guys having their moods take a dive after victories, especially ones in which everything seemed to click. And again, that didn’t look like it happened with Fitzgerald.
Now, whether or not he wants to talk to his little brother about the very public impact of Twitter ….
Tags: Anquan Boldin, Darnell Dockett, Jason Wright, Ken Whisenhunt, Kurt Warner, Larry Fitzgerald, Randy Moss, Steve Smith, Terrell Owens
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