Larry Fitzgerald

Larry Fitzgerald

Fitzgerald in 2006
No. 11     Arizona Cardinals
Wide receiver
Personal information
Date of birth: August 31, 1983 (1983-08-31) (age 28)
Place of birth: Minneapolis, Minnesota
High School: Academy of Holy Angels
Height: 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) Weight: 218 lb (99 kg)
Career information
College: Pittsburgh
NFL Draft: 2004 / Round: 1 / Pick: 3
Debuted in 2004 for the Arizona Cardinals
Career history
Roster status: Active
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of Week 5, 2011
Receptions     640
Receiving Yards     8,631
Receiving TDs     67
Stats at

Larry Darnell Fitzgerald, Jr. (born August 31, 1983) is an American football wide receiver for the Arizona Cardinals of the National Football League, and currently ranks fourth all-time in league history in receiving yards per game for a career (76.0 yds/game), behind Andre Johnson, Torry Holt, and Marvin Harrison. He agreed to an eight year, $120 million contract extension on August 20, 2011.[1] Fitzgerald was drafted third overall in the 2004 NFL Draft by the Cardinals. He played college football at Pittsburgh.


College career

Fitzgerald attended the University of Pittsburgh where he was widely considered one of the best wide receivers in college football. After his sophomore season, Fitzgerald was recognized as the best player in the NCAA with the 2003 Walter Camp Award and the Touchdown Club of Columbus's Chic Harley Award, and as the best wide receiver in college football with the 2003 Biletnikoff Award and the Touchdown Club's Paul Warfield Award. He was also a unanimous 2003 All-America selection and a runner-up for the prestigious Heisman Trophy, given to the most outstanding player in college football; Oklahoma's Jason White won that award by a relatively slim margin.

In just 26 games with the Panthers, Fitzgerald caught 161 passes for 2,677 yards[2] and set a new Pitt record with 34 receiving touchdowns.[3] He was the first player in school history with back-to-back 1,000-yard receiving seasons,[4] and his 14 games with at least 100 yards receiving broke Antonio Bryant's previous all-time Panthers record of 13.[5]

Fitzgerald also holds an NCAA record with at least one touchdown catch in 18 straight games.[2]

Professional career


Although Fitzgerald had played at Pitt for only two years without redshirting, he petitioned the NFL to allow him to enter the 2004 NFL Draft, as he had left his high school, Academy of Holy Angels, during his senior year to attend Valley Forge (PA) Military Academy. The NFL granted an exception to allow Fitzgerald to enter the draft, as Fitzgerald had convinced the NFL that the time he spent at the Academy, combined with his time at Pitt, was the minimum three years removed from high school to make him eligible for the draft. Although former Ohio State running back Maurice Clarett was suing the NFL at the time to overturn the rule (a case Clarett ultimately won, but was later overturned on appeal), the NFL considered Fitzgerald's case separate from Clarett's.[6]

Arizona Cardinals

Fitzgerald left the University of Pittsburgh after a tremendous sophomore year in which he caught 92 passes for 1,672 yards and 22 TDs. He was drafted third overall in the 2004 NFL Draft by the Arizona Cardinals, whose then coach, Dennis Green, knew Fitzgerald from his time as a Vikings ball boy.

In 2004, Fitzgerald had 58 receptions for 780 yards and 8 touchdowns. On December 12, 2004, Fitzgerald became the youngest player at 21 years and 110 days, to record at least 2 touchdown receptions in a single game. In 2005 he led the NFL with 103 receptions for 1,409 yards and 10 touchdowns and was named to his first Pro Bowl. Fitzgerald teamed with Anquan Boldin to create one of the most dangerous wide receiver tandems in the NFL. In 2005, they became only the third duo from the same team to each catch over 100 passes and also the third pair of teammates to top the 1,400-yard mark.

In 2006, Fitzgerald was injured and missed part of the season but still produced 69 receptions for 946 yards and 6 touchdowns. As part of his 2007 Pro Bowl season, he caught 100 receptions for 1,409 yards and 10 touchdowns. Following the 2007 season Fitzgerald signed a four-year, $40 million contract extension with Arizona. While still under contract at the time, performance bonuses forced the team's hand into a massive extension.[7] Fitzgerald's numbers earned him the nickname "Sticky Fingers" and "The Best Hands in the NFL" in local media.[8]

During the NFC Championship for the 2008 NFL season, Fitzgerald tied an NFL record with three touchdown receptions in a playoff game. His three touchdown catches occurred in the first half; he became the first player in NFL history to accomplish that feat in a conference championship game.[9] Fitzgerald also set a single postseason record with 546 receiving yards, 30 receptions, and 7 touchdown receptions, surpassing Jerry Rice's records of the 1988–89 NFL playoffs. He and the Cardinals represented the NFC in Super Bowl XLIII.[10][11] During Super Bowl XLIII, Fitzgerald caught two touchdown passes in the Cardinals 27–23 loss to the Steelers.[12] Fitzgerald followed up this performance by catching two more touchdown passes in the 2009 Pro Bowl, earning him MVP honors.[13] After the Pro Bowl was over it was revealed that Fitzgerald had been playing at least the whole postseason with a broken left thumb as well as torn cartilage in the same hand. It is speculated that Fitzgerald has had this injury since November 5, 2008, when he showed up on the injury report with an injured thumb.[14] After his record-breaking postseason, capped by his Pro Bowl MVP award, many analysts, including NFL Network's Jamie Dukes, regarded Fitzgerald as one of the best receivers in the NFL.[15][16]

Despite having about 300 yards less than the year before, he set a personal record with 13 touchdowns in 2009. He added two more touchdown catches in the Wild Card game against the Green Bay Packers in a 51–45 win. However, the Cardinals were eliminated the next week, beaten 45–14 by the New Orleans Saints.

The 2010 season for the Cardinals was a major let down from the previous two years, as the retiring of Kurt Warner greatly affected their offense. Despite this, Fitzgerald was still able to catch 90 passes for 1,137 yards, and 6 touchdowns. After the season he was named to his 5th pro bowl, and his 4th in a row.

Larry Fitzgerald signed an 8-year $120 million deal with the Arizona Cardinals on August 20th, 2011 that makes him tied with Richard Seymour as the 5th highest paid player in the NFL.


Year Team G GS Rec Yards Avg Lng TD
2004 ARI 16 16 58 780 13.4 48 8
2005 ARI 16 16 103 1,409 13.7 47 10
2006 ARI 13 13 69 946 13.7 57 6
2007 ARI 15 15 100 1,409 14.1 48T 10
2008 ARI 16 16 96 1,431 14.9 78T 12
2009 ARI 16 16 97 1,092 11.3 34T 13
2010 ARI 16 15 90 1,137 12.6 41T 6
Tot. ARI 108 107 613 8,204 13.3 78T 65


Fitzgerald's father, Larry Fitzgerald Sr., is a sportswriter for the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder. When he covered Super Bowl XLIII, he was believed to be the first reporter to cover his own son in a Super Bowl.[17]

Fitzgerald's mother, Carol, died of a brain hemorrhage while being treated for breast cancer in 2003.[18]

Fitzgerald also has a younger brother, Marcus R. Fitzgerald. Marcus is an American football wide receiver for the Sacramento Mountain Lions of the United Football League.

In January 2010, Fitzgerald appeared in a television commercial saying that he was completing his college degree at the University of Phoenix while also playing football many weekends at the Arizona Cardinals' University of Phoenix Stadium.

In December 2008, Angela Nazario, a former Oakland Raiders cheerleader and the mother of Fitzgerald's child, filed for and won an order of protection against Fitzgerald, alleging that he had shoved her during a domestic disturbance. No charges were filed.[19] Fitzgerald's father claimed that Nazario made the accusations in an attempt "to get a lot of money," and his lawyers have said that they cannot discuss the case because a judge had it sealed.[18]

In the media

Fitzgerald was featured on the cover of the EA Sports video game NCAAF 2005. He was also one of two players (with Troy Polamalu) who are on the cover of Madden 2010.[20] This makes him one of two people (along with Shaun Alexander) in the history of the EA Sports American Football games to appear on two different covers.


  1. ^ Scott Jackson Larry Fitzgerald gets paid. August 21, 2011
  2. ^ a b Fox, Ashley (2009-01-23). "Tough love". = The Columbus Dispatch (Columbus, Ohio). Retrieved 2009-01-30. 
  3. ^ Pitt 2007 Football. University of Pittsburgh. 2007. p. 132. Retrieved 2009-01-30 
  4. ^ Magruder, Jack (2009-01-14). "Fitzgerald leads Cards with Pittsburgh ties". Pittsburgh Tribune Review (Pittsburgh, Penn.). Retrieved 2009-01-30. 
  5. ^ Pitt 2007 Football. University of Pittsburgh. 2007. p. 137. Retrieved 2009-01-30 
  6. ^ Simonich, Milan (2004-02-06). "U.S. judge opens NFL to younger players, including Clarett and Fitzgerald". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 
  7. ^ ([dead link]Scholar search) Cards, Fitzgerald agree to $40M deal. Fox Sports. 2008-03-11. Retrieved 2008-03-11 
  8. ^ Cizmar, Martin (2009-01-28). Talking (to) trash. Phoenix New Times. Retrieved 2009-01-28 
  9. ^ "Larry Fitzgerald catches 3 TDs, Cardinals lead NFC title game over Eagles 24–6 after half". Retrieved 2010-09-20. 
  10. ^ "Fitzgerald shines as Warner leads Cardinals to franchise's first Super Bowl". 2009-01-18. Retrieved 2010-09-20. 
  11. ^ Warner throws for 4 TDs, Cards stun Eagles 32–25. Retrieved on 2009-01-18.
  12. ^ [1][dead link]
  13. ^ Feb. 8, 2009 07:26 PM Associated Press (2009-02-08). "Fitzgerald earns MVP at Pro Bowl". Retrieved 2010-09-20. 
  14. ^ "MVP to mend broken thumb". The Denver Post. 2009-02-09. Retrieved 2010-09-20. 
  15. ^ "Super Debate: Is Fitzgerald the best receiver in the NFL?". 2009-01-29. Retrieved 2010-09-20. 
  16. ^ "Without Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers no better than Detroit Lions". Green Bay Press-Gazette. 2010-12-14. Retrieved 2010-12-14. 
  17. ^ Rick Reilly: Larry Fitzgerald Sr.'s Toughest Assignment Yet, January 25, 2009
  18. ^ a b Lapointe, Joe (2009-01-17). "One Step From Super Bowl, Fitzgerald Is Suddenly an Open Book". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-01-28. 
  19. ^ Bell, Jarrett (2009-01-18). "The Bell Tolls: Work, family lines blur for Fitzgerald's dad". USA Today. Retrieved 2009-01-28. 
  20. ^ Lee, Kevin (2008-04-27). "Fitzgerald & Polamalu On Madden NFL 2010 Cover". GamerCenterOnline. Retrieved 2009-04-27. 

External links