Larry Fitzgerald

Last updated

Larry Fitzgerald
Larry Fitzgerald 2017.jpg
Fitzgerald with the Arizona Cardinals in 2017
Free agent
Position: Wide receiver
Personal information
Born: (1983-08-31) August 31, 1983 (age 38)
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Height:6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)
Weight:218 lb (99 kg)
Career information
High school: Academy of Holy Angels
(Richfield, Minnesota)
College: Pittsburgh
NFL Draft: 2004  / Round: 1 / Pick: 3
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of 2020
Receptions:1,432
Receiving yards:17,492
Yards per reception:12.2
Receiving touchdowns:121
Player stats at NFL.com  ·  PFR

Larry Darnell Fitzgerald Jr. (born August 31, 1983) is an American football wide receiver who is a free agent. He played college football at Pittsburgh, where he earned unanimous All-America honors. He was drafted by the Arizona Cardinals third overall in the 2004 NFL Draft. He is widely considered by fans, coaches and peers to be one of the greatest receivers in NFL history. [1]

Contents

Fitzgerald has been selected for the Pro Bowl eleven times. [2] He was named First-team All-Pro in 2008 and Second-team All-Pro twice in 2009 and 2011. As of July 8,2021, he is second in NFL career receiving yards, second in career receptions, and sixth in receiving touchdowns. [3] [4]

Fitzgerald became a minority owner of the Phoenix Suns of the National Basketball Association in 2020. [5]

Early years

As a teenager, Fitzgerald worked as a ball boy for the Minnesota Vikings under coach Dennis Green. "You know just being around your childhood idols," Fitzgerald said in a 2015 interview. "Coach Green gave me an opportunity of a lifetime to be around Cris Carter, Warren Moon, Joey Browner, Randy Moss, and Robert Smith. I can go on and on. To see their work ethic and dedication to their craft, that was really an eye-opening experience for a 14-year-old, 15-year-old. It was like on-the-job training almost." [6]

Fitzgerald attended and played high school football at the Academy of Holy Angels in Richfield, Minnesota. [7] [8] While there, he was a two-time First-Team All-State wide receiver. [9] Fitzgerald did not meet NCAA requirements to play football as a freshman, so he spent a year at Valley Forge Military Academy in Pennsylvania. [8]

College career

Fitzgerald attended the University of Pittsburgh, where he played for the Pittsburgh Panthers football team under head coach Walt Harris. [10] He was widely considered one of the best wide receivers in college football from 2002 to 2003.

2002 season

In his freshman season, Fitzgerald was an instant contributor. In the second game of the season against #20 Texas A&M, he had ten receptions for 103 yards in the 14–12 loss. [11] Three weeks later, against Toledo, he had six receptions for 121 yards and his first two collegiate touchdowns in the 37–19 victory. [12] On November 2, Fitzgerald had another stellar outing against #3 Virginia Tech with five receptions for 105 yards and three touchdowns in the 28–21 victory. [13] In the last regular season game on November 30, he had 11 receptions for 159 yards and two touchdowns against #24 West Virginia in the 24–17 loss. [14] Pitt finished with an 8–4 record and qualified for a bowl game. [15] In the 2002 Insight Bowl, Fitzgerald had five receptions for 88 yards and a touchdown in the 38–13 victory over Oregon State. [16] Overall, in the 2002 season, Fitzgerald had a Big-East conference leading 69 receptions for 1,005 yards and twelve touchdowns. [17] [18]

2003 season

Fitzgerald had a stellar sophomore season in 2003. He began the campaign against Kent State with six receptions for 123 yards and three touchdowns in the 43–3 victory. [19] In the next game against Ball State, he had seven receptions for 124 yards and two touchdowns in the 42–21 victory. [20] Fitzgerald once again put out a great effort in the following game against Toledo with 12 receptions for 201 yards and a touchdown in the 35–31 loss. [21] In the next game against Texas A&M, Fitzgerald had his fourth consecutive game with at least 100 receiving yards with seven receptions for 135 yards and three touchdowns in the 37–26 victory. [22] Two weeks later, against Notre Dame, he was held under 100 yards for the first time but still had five receptions for 79 yards and two touchdowns in the 20–14 loss. [23] Fitzgerald bounced back in the next game against Rutgers with eight receptions for a season-high 207 yards and two touchdowns in the 42–32 victory. [24] Fitzgerald's hot streak continued in the next game against Syracuse, where he had eight receptions for 149 yards and two touchdowns in the 34–14 victory. [25] Fitzgerald's performance against the Orange was his fourth consecutive game with at least two touchdowns.

Fitzgerald started the month of November with seven receptions for 156 yards and a touchdown in a 24–13 victory over Boston College. [26] In the following week against #5 Virginia Tech, he had eight receptions for 108 yards and a touchdown in the 31–28 upset victory. [27] Fitzgerald added another great performance against West Virginia in the following week with nine receptions for 185 yards and two touchdowns in the 52–31 loss. [28] In the following week against Temple, he had seven receptions for 102 yards and two touchdowns as the Panthers won 30–16. [29] Fitzgerald's performance against the Owls was his sixth consecutive game with at least 100 receiving yards. Fitzgerald's impressive streak ended the following week against #10 Miami with three receptions for 26 yards and a touchdown in the 28–14 loss. [30] Despite having a season-low in yardage, Fitzgerald ended up recording his 12th consecutive game with at least one touchdown reception in the 2003 season, and 18th straight game with a touchdown reception dating back to the previous season. Pitt finished with an 8–4 record in the regular season and qualified for a bowl game. [31] In the 2003 Continental Tire Bowl, Fitzgerald had five receptions for 77 yards against Virginia in the final game of his collegiate career, a 23–16 loss. He was held without a touchdown for the first time in 18 collegiate games. [32]

Overall, Fitzgerald led the Big East conference with 92 receptions for 1,672 yards and an NCAA-leading 22 touchdowns in the 2003 season. [33] [34] [35]

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 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 the award that year with 1,481 total points to Fitzgerald's 1,353. [36]

In just 26 games in his collegiate career, Fitzgerald caught 161 passes for 2,677 yards [37] and set a new Pitt record with 34 receiving touchdowns. [38] He was the first player in school history with back-to-back 1,000-yard receiving seasons, [39] and his 14 games with at least 100 yards receiving broke Antonio Bryant's previous all-time Panthers record of 13. [40] Fitzgerald's 18 straight games with at least one touchdown reception is an NCAA record. [41]

Legacy

On July 1, 2013, Fitzgerald's #1 jersey was retired by the University of Pittsburgh. Fitzgerald was the ninth Pittsburgh player to receive this honor. [42]

College statistics

Larry FitzgeraldReceiving
SeasonTeamGPRecYardsTD
2002 Pitt 13691,00512
2003 Pitt 13921,67222
College totals [43] 261612,67734

Professional career

Pre-draft measurables
HeightWeightArm lengthHand size 40-yard dash Wonderlic
6 ft 2+78 in
(1.90 m)
225 lb
(102 kg)
32+18 in
(0.82 m)
9+78 in
(0.25 m)
4.48 s18
All values from NFL Combine/Pittsburgh's Pro Day [44]

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 Military Academy. [45] The NFL granted an exception to allow Fitzgerald to enter the draft, as Fitzgerald had convinced the NFL that the time he spent at VFMA, 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 initially won, but it was later overturned on appeal), the NFL considered Fitzgerald's case separate from Clarett's. [46]

After his tremendous sophomore year, Fitzgerald 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. [47] He was the first wide receiver to be selected in the 2004 NFL Draft. In addition, he was the first of six Pitt Panthers to be selected that year. [48]

2004 season: Rookie year

Fitzgerald made his NFL debut against the St. Louis Rams in the season opener on September 12. In the 17–10 loss, he had four receptions for 70 yards. [49] In the fifth game of the season on October 10, he had his first career touchdown reception, a 24-yard pass from Josh McCown, against the San Francisco 49ers. [50] On December 19, against the St. Louis Rams, Fitzgerald became the youngest player at 21 years and 110 days, to record at least two touchdown receptions in a single game. [51] His record has since been broken by Aaron Hernandez of the New England Patriots in 2010 and Mike Evans of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2014. [52] He followed up his historic performance in the next game in Week 16 against the Seattle Seahawks, in which he had four receptions for 70 yards and two touchdowns in the 24–21 loss. [53]

Fitzgerald finished his rookie year with 59 receptions for 780 yards and eight touchdowns as the Cardinals missed the playoffs with a 6–10 record. [54] [55]

2005 season

Fitzgerald started his second NFL season catching 13 receptions for a former career-high 155 yards and a touchdown in a 42–19 loss to the New York Giants in the season opener on September 11. [56] Three weeks later, he had seven receptions for 102 yards against the San Francisco 49ers in a 31–14 victory. [57] Against the Carolina Panthers in the next game, he had nine receptions for 136 yards and a touchdown in a 24–20 loss. [58] On November 13, in the ninth game of the season, Fitzgerald had eight receptions for 102 yards in a 33–19 loss to the Seattle Seahawks. [59] In the next game against the Detroit Lions, he had nine receptions for 141 yards and a touchdown in the 29–19 loss. [60] He posted his third consecutive game with at least 100 receiving yards in the next game against the St. Louis Rams with nine receptions for 104 yards and a touchdown in the 38–28 victory. [61] Fitzgerald started the month of December with eight receptions for 129 yards in a 17–10 victory over the San Francisco 49ers. [62] Fitzgerald closed out the regular season with a touchdown catch in each of the last three games against the Houston Texans, Philadelphia Eagles, and Indianapolis Colts. Fitzgerald and the Cardinals missed the playoffs with a 6–10 record. [63] [64]

In 2005, Fitzgerald led the NFL with 103 receptions for 1,409 yards, which ranked fourth in the NFL, and ten touchdowns, which ranked fifth in the NFL. He was named to his first Pro Bowl. [65] [66] Fitzgerald teamed with Anquan Boldin to create one of the most productive wide receiver tandems in the NFL. In 2005, Fitzgerald and Boldin became only the second tandem from the same team, the first tandem being Herman Moore and Brett Perriman of the Detroit Lions in 1995, to each catch over 100 passes and top the 1,400-yard mark. [67] [68] [69] [70]

2006 season

Fitzgerald started his third NFL season with nine receptions for 133 yards in a 34–27 victory over the San Francisco 49ers. [71] He had his first touchdown of the season in Week 3 16–14 loss to the St. Louis Rams. [72] He sustained a hamstring injury and missed three games. [73] He returned against the Dallas Cowboys on November 12 in a 27–10 defeat. [74] Two weeks later, he had 11 receptions for a career-high 172 yards against the Minnesota Vikings in a 31–26 loss. [75] He closed out the 2006 season with four receiving touchdowns in the last five games. [76] [77] [78] [79]

Overall, Fitzgerald finished the 2006 season with 69 receptions for 946 yards and six touchdowns as the Cardinals finished the year with a 5–11 record. [80]

2007 season

Fitzgerald started the 2007 season with a slow performance against the San Francisco 49ers, where he had only three receptions for 20 yards in a narrow 20–17 loss. [81] Three games later, he had ten receptions for 120 yards against the Pittsburgh Steelers in a 21–14 victory. [82] In the next game, he had his first touchdown of the season against the St. Louis Rams in a nine-catch, 136-yard performance in the 34–31 victory. [83] On November 11, he had eight receptions for 74 yards and two touchdowns against the Detroit Lions in a 31–21 victory. [84] Two weeks later, he had nine receptions for 156 yards and two touchdowns against the San Francisco 49ers in the 37–31 loss. [85] In the regular season finale against the Rams, he had 11 receptions for 171 yards and two touchdowns in a 48–19 victory. [86] Fitzgerald and the Cardinals finished with an 8–8 record. [87]

As part of his Pro Bowl season, Fitzgerald caught 100 passes for 1,409 yards and 10 touchdowns. [88] [89] Following the 2007 season, he 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. [90] Fitzgerald's numbers earned him the nickname "Sticky Fingers" and "The Best Hands in the NFL" in local media. [91]

2008 season

The 2008 season marked a huge year for Fitzgerald in terms of individual accomplishment and team success. In the season opener against the San Francisco 49ers, Fitzgerald caught a one-yard receiving touchdown in the 23–13 victory. [92] In the second game of the season, he had six receptions for 153 yards against the Miami Dolphins in a 31–10 victory. [93] He followed that up with seven receptions for 109 yards against the Washington Redskins in the next game, a 24–17 loss. [94] He posted his third consecutive game with at least 100 receiving yards in the next game against the New York Jets with 122 receiving yards on eight receptions a 56–35 loss. [95] In the next game, he was held to only 52 yards, but had two receiving touchdowns in a 41–17 victory over the Buffalo Bills. [96]

On November 16, Fitzgerald had ten receptions for 151 yards against the Seattle Seahawks in a 26–20 Week 11 victory. [97] On November 27, he had his second multi-touchdown game of the season, this time in a 65-yard performance against the Philadelphia Eagles in a 48–20 loss. [98] Fitzgerald finished the regular season strong with three receptions for 101 yards including a 76-yard touchdown against the New England Patriots in a 47–7 loss, [99] and five receptions for 130 yards and two touchdowns against the Seattle Seahawks in a 34–21 victory in the regular season finale. [100]

Fitzgerald finished the regular season with 96 receptions for 1,431 yards and a league-leading 12 touchdowns. For the first time in his career, the Cardinals finished with a winning record at 9–7 and made the playoffs. [101] [102]

In his playoff debut, Fitzgerald had six receptions for 101 yards and a touchdown in a 30–24 victory over the Atlanta Falcons in the Wild Card Round. [103] In the Divisional Round against the Carolina Panthers, he had eight receptions for 166 yards in the 33–13 victory. [104] 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. [105] As a result of the 32–25 victory over the Eagles, Fitzgerald and the Cardinals represented the NFC in Super Bowl XLIII. [106] [107] During Super Bowl XLIII, Fitzgerald caught two touchdown passes in the game. Late in the fourth quarter, Fitzgerald had a 64-yard touchdown reception from Kurt Warner to go ahead 23–20, but the score did not hold as the Pittsburgh Steelers scored a touchdown with only 35 seconds remaining to go ahead 27–23, which was the game's final score. [108] [109] [110] Fitzgerald set a single postseason record with 546 receiving yards, [111] 30 receptions, [112] and seven touchdown receptions, [113] surpassing Jerry Rice's records of the 1988–89 NFL playoffs. [114] [115]

Fitzgerald followed up his great 2008 season by catching two more touchdown passes in the 2009 Pro Bowl, earning him MVP honors. [116] [117] 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. [118] 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. [119] [120] He was named as a First-Team All Pro for the 2008 season. [121]

Fitzgerald during the 2015 season Larry Fitzgerald 2015.JPG
Fitzgerald during the 2015 season

2009 season

Fitzgerald started the 2009 season with six receptions for 71 yards against the San Francisco 49ers in a 20–16 loss. [122] In the fourth game of the season, he had five receptions for 79 yards and two touchdowns in a 28–21 victory over the Houston Texans. [123] The following week, he had 13 receptions for 100 yards and a touchdown in a 27–3 victory over the Seattle Seahawks. [124] On November 8 against the Chicago Bears, he had nine receptions for 123 yards and two touchdowns in a 41–21 victory. [125] On December 6, he had eight receptions for 143 yards and a touchdown in a 30–17 victory the Minnesota Vikings. [126] He finished out the 2009 regular season with a receiving touchdown in the last three games. [127] [128] [129] Overall, he had 97 receptions for 1,092 yards and a league-leading 13 touchdowns as the Cardinals went 10–6 and returned to the playoffs. [130] [131]

In the Wild Card Round, he had six receptions for 82 receiving yards and two touchdown receptions against the Green Bay Packers in a 51–45 win. [132] However, the Cardinals were eliminated the next week by the eventual Super Bowl XLIV champion New Orleans Saints by a score of 45–14 in the Divisional Round. [133] He was named to his third consecutive and fourth career Pro Bowl for his efforts in 2009. [134]

2010 season

Fitzgerald started the 2010 season recording a 21-yard receiving touchdown in the fourth quarter against the St. Louis Rams in a 17–13 victory. [135] On October 31, in Week 8, he had six receptions for 72 yards and two touchdowns against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a 38–35 loss. [136] In the next game, he recorded 107 yards on seven receptions against the Minnesota Vikings in a 27–24 loss. [137] On December 19, against the Carolina Panthers, he had nine receptions for 125 yards in a 19–12 loss in Week 15. [138] In the regular season finale against the San Francisco 49ers, he had his best performance of the season with 11 receptions for 125 yards and a touchdown in a 38–7 loss. [139] Fitzgerald and the Cardinals failed to return to the playoffs with a 5–11 record. [140]

Overall, in the 2010 season, Fitzgerald recorded 90 receptions, which ranked fifth in the NFL, for 1,137 yards and six touchdowns. [141] After the season, he was named to his fifth Pro Bowl, and his fourth in a row. [142] He finished ranked as the 14th best player in the league among his peers on the NFL Top 100 Players of 2011. [143]

2011 season

On August 20, 2011, Fitzgerald signed an 8-year, $120 million contract with the Cardinals, tying him with Richard Seymour as the fifth highest paid player in the NFL at the time. [144]

Fitzgerald's first solid outing came against the Washington Redskins in Week 2, where he had seven receptions for 133 yards and a touchdown in a 22–21 loss. [145] Two games later, he had eight receptions for 102 yards in a 31–27 loss to the New York Giants. [146] On November 13, in Week 10, he had seven receptions for 146 yards and two touchdowns in a 21–17 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles. [147] His efforts against the Eagles garnered him NFC Offensive Player of the Week honors. [148] A few games later, he had seven receptions for 149 yards and a touchdown against the San Francisco 49ers in a 21–19 victory in Week 14. [149] On Christmas Eve, he had six receptions for 105 yards and a touchdown against the Cincinnati Bengals in a 23–16 loss in Week 16. [150] He closed out the regular season with nine receptions for 149 yards against the Seattle Seahawks in a 23–20 victory. [151] The Cardinals finished with an 8–8 record and missed the playoffs. [152]

Overall, Fitzgerald had another stellar season, catching 80 passes for 1,411 yards and eight touchdowns and setting a personal record of 17.6 yards per catch. [153] Fitzgerald's accomplishments were recognized by an All-Pro second team selection as well as his sixth Pro Bowl selection. [154] He finished ranked as the seventh best player in the league among his peers on the NFL Top 100 Players of 2012 list. [155]

2012 season

Fitzgerald started the 2012 season with four receptions for 63 yards in a 20–16 victory over the Seattle Seahawks. [156] Two weeks later, he had his first touchdown of the season in a 27–6 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles. In the game, he had nine receptions for 114 yards to go with the touchdown and earned NFC Offensive Player of the Week honors. [157] [158] On November 4, he scored his last touchdown of the season against the Green Bay Packers in a six-catch, 74-yard performance in the 31–17 loss. [159] In the penultimate game of the regular season against the Chicago Bears, he had eight receptions for 111 yards in the 28–13 loss. [160]

Overall, on the season, Fitzgerald had 71 receptions for 798 yards and four touchdowns as the Cardinals went 5–11 and missed the playoffs. [161] [162] He was named to his sixth consecutive and seventh career Pro Bowl. [163] He finished ranked 22nd by his fellow players on the NFL Top 100 Players of 2013 list. [164]

Following the 2012 football season, Fitzgerald was named as the Cardinals' Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year and was one of three finalists for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award. [165]

2013 season

In the offseason, Fitzgerald turned 30. He started the 2013 season with eight receptions for 80 yards and two touchdowns against the St. Louis Rams. [166] In the sixth game of the season, he recorded his first performance of the season topping 100 yards against the San Francisco 49ers. In the game, he had six receptions for 117 yards and a touchdown. [167] On November 24, against the Indianapolis Colts, he had five receptions for 52 yards and two touchdowns. [168] Two weeks later, Fitzgerald caught all 12 of his targets for 96 yards and a touchdown in a 30–10 victory over the Rams. [169] In the regular season finale against the 49ers, he had six receptions for 113 yards. [170]

Overall, on the season, Fitzgerald had 82 receptions for 954 yards and ten touchdowns as the Cardinals improved to a 10–6 record from the previous season of 5–11. However, they still missed out on the playoffs. [171] For his 2013 season, he was named to his seventh consecutive and eighth overall Pro Bowl. [172] He finished ranked 38th by his peers on the NFL Top 100 Players of 2014 list. [173]

2014 season

Fitzgerald was a stable part of the Cardinals' offense in 2014. However, the lack of stability at the quarterback position put a hindrance on the team's overall performance as four different quarterbacks saw time for the Cardinals that year. [174] [175] He started his 11th professional season against the San Diego Chargers. In the game, he only had one reception for 22 yards. [176] He did not have his first touchdown of the season until the fifth game of the season against the Washington Redskins, where he had six receptions for 98 yards. [177] On October 26 against the Philadelphia Eagles, he had seven receptions for a season-high 160 yards and a touchdown, which was a career-high 80-yard reception, to earn his third career NFC Offensive Player of the Week award. [178] [179] Two weeks later, he had nine receptions for 112 yards against the St. Louis Rams. [180]

Overall, on the 2014 season, Fitzgerald had 63 receptions for 784 yards and two touchdowns as the Cardinals went 11–5 and returned to the playoffs. [181] [182]

In the Wild Card Round against the Carolina Panthers, Fitzgerald had three receptions for 31 yards in the 27–16 defeat. [183] [184] He was ranked 68th by his fellow players on the NFL Top 100 Players of 2015 list. [185]

2015 season

On February 18, 2015, Fitzgerald was signed to a new multi-year contract worth at least $11 million guaranteed over the next two seasons. [186]

In Week 2, in the 48–23 victory over Chicago Bears, Fitzgerald had 112 receiving yards and caught three touchdown passes, the first time he accomplished the feat during the regular season in his career. [187] For his performance, he was named NFC Offensive Player of the Week for the fourth time in his career. [188] In the next game, he had nine receptions for 134 yards and two touchdowns against the San Francisco 49ers. [189] On November 15, he had ten receptions for 130 yards against the Seattle Seahawks. [190] In Week 13, he became the youngest player to reach 1,000 career receptions; Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten joined him the same day as the 11th and 12th players to reach this milestone. [191] He closed out the 2015 regular season with a receiving touchdown in the last two games against the Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks. [192] [193] The Cardinals finished with a 13–3 record and won the NFC West. [194]

For the 2015 season, Fitzgerald had 109 catches, which was tied for fifth in the NFL, [195] for 1,215 yards and nine touchdowns. [196] [197] For his accomplishments during the 2015 season, Fitzgerald was selected to the Pro Bowl for the ninth time. He was ranked 27th on the NFL Top 100 Players of 2016. [198] [199]

On January 16, 2016, Fitzgerald helped his quarterback Carson Palmer record his first playoff win with eight catches for a franchise-record 176 yards in the NFC Divisional Round against the Green Bay Packers in a Week 16 rematch. Fitzgerald was the Cardinals' entire offense in overtime, with a 75-yard reception to open overtime, and a five-yard touchdown reception from Palmer two plays later, which resulted in a 26–20 win. [200] [201] He was held to four receptions for 30 yards in the NFC Championship against the Carolina Panthers. The Cardinals' season ended with a 49–15 loss. [202] [203]

2016 season

On August 5, 2016, Fitzgerald signed a one-year, $11 million contract extension with the Cardinals. [204]

On September 11, 2016, Fitzgerald had eight receptions for 81 yards and two touchdowns, while becoming the 10th player to reach 100 career touchdowns, in the season-opening 23–21 loss to the New England Patriots on NBC Sunday Night Football . [205] [206] [207] In the fifth game of the season, he had six receptions for 81 yards and two touchdowns in the 33–21 loss to the San Francisco 49ers. [208] On November 13, he had 12 receptions for 132 yards in another strong outing against the 49ers in a 23–20 victory. [209] In the regular season finale, 44–6 victory over the Los Angeles Rams, he had five receptions for 43 yards and scored his first receiving touchdown since the first meeting with the 49ers. [210] The Cardinals finished with a 7–8–1 record and missed the playoffs. [211] [212]

At the end of the 2016 season, Fitzgerald led the NFL in receptions for the second time with 107, and had 1,023 receiving yards with six receiving touchdowns. [213] He moved from 11th to 3rd on the all-time career reception list, [214] and ended the season ninth all-time in receiving yards. [215] He was named to his tenth career Pro Bowl. [216] He was ranked 45th by his peers on the NFL Top 100 Players of 2017. [217]

2017 season

Fitzgerald in 2017 Larry Fitzgerald 2017 (3).jpg
Fitzgerald in 2017

With the retirements of Steve Smith and Anquan Boldin at the end of 2016, the 34-year-old Fitzgerald entered the 2017 season as the career leader in receptions and receiving yards among active players. In Week 3, on Monday Night Football, Fitzgerald had 149 receiving yards on 13 receptions, which tied his career high, and a touchdown in a 28–17 loss to the Dallas Cowboys, his highest output in almost three years. [218] His 13 receptions tied Jarvis Landry's performance in Week 2 for the most receptions in a single game by any player in the 2017 season. [219] [220] The next week, he caught a 19-yard sudden death touchdown from Palmer with 0:31 left in overtime to defeat the San Francisco 49ers by a score of 18–15. [221] In Week 6, Fitzgerald had 10 receptions for 138 yards and a touchdown in a 38–33 victory over Tampa Bay, and 10 receptions for 113 yards in Week 10's Thursday Night Football 22–16 loss to Seattle, [218] joining Antonio Brown as the only players with three games of 10+ receptions in 2017, [222] and briefly passing Brown for the league lead in receptions. On November 17, 2017, Fitzgerald signed a one-year contract extension with the Cardinals worth $11 million through the 2018 season. [223] In Week 13, against the Los Angeles Rams, Fitzgerald had 10 receptions, his fourth game in double digits, for 98 yards and his fifth touchdown in the 32–16 loss. [218] In Week 16, against the New York Giants, he had nine receptions for 119 yards and a touchdown. In addition, he completed a 21-yard pass in the 23–0 victory. [224] He tied his career-best with 109 receptions, finishing second to Jarvis Landry, [225] and finished eighth in the NFL with 1,156 receiving yards. On December 19, 2017, Fitzgerald was named to his 11th Pro Bowl. [226] [227] However, it was later announced that Doug Baldwin of the Seattle Seahawks would replace Fitzgerald. [228] The Cardinals finished with an 8–8 record and missed the playoffs. [229] He was ranked 27th on the NFL Top 100 Players of 2018. [230]

2018 season

In Week 1, Fitzgerald recorded seven receptions for 76 yards in a 24–6 loss to the Washington Redskins. [231] Nursing a sore hamstring, he failed to reach 50 yards in any of his next six games, and did not record a touchdown reception until a Week 7 45–10 loss to the Denver Broncos on Thursday Night Football. [232] [233] [234] In Week 8, he had eight receptions for 102 yards with a touchdown and a two-point conversion in the 18–15 victory over the San Francisco 49ers. [218] In Week 10, in a 26–14 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs after recording six receptions for 50 yards, Fitzgerald reached 15,952 career receiving yards, passing Terrell Owens for second on the all-time list behind only Jerry Rice. [235] In Week 11 against the Oakland Raiders, Fitzgerald made two catches for 23 yards which were both touchdowns in the 23–21 loss. [236]

In Week 14, against the Detroit Lions, Fitzgerald set an NFL record for most receptions with one team with 1,282. [237] [238] The gloves he used in that game and the ball he caught were sent to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. [239] In Week 16, Fitzgerald threw the first touchdown pass of his NFL career, a 32-yard pass to David Johnson for the first Cardinals score in the eventual 31–9 loss to the Los Angeles Rams. In addition, Fitzgerald had six receptions for 53 yards. [240] He finished the 3–13 season as the Cardinals leading receiver with 69 receptions for a career-low 734 yards with six receiving touchdowns. [241] Fitzgerald was ranked 60th by his fellow players on the NFL Top 100 Players of 2019. [242]

2019 season

On January 23, 2019, Fitzgerald announced he would return for the 2019 season, and signed a one-year contract extension with the Cardinals. [243] In Week 1 against the Detroit Lions, Fitzgerald caught eight passes for 113 yards and one touchdown from rookie quarterback Kyler Murray in the 27–27 tie. [244] In Week 2, a 23–17 loss to the Baltimore Ravens, he had five receptions for 104 receiving yards for his first back-to-back games with over 100 receiving yards since Weeks 2–3 of the 2015 season. [245] In a Week 4 27–10 loss to the Seattle Seahawks, he passed Tony Gonzalez for second-most career receptions in NFL history. [246] In the 12 games from Weeks 3 to 17, Fitzgerald averaged just 41.9 yards on 4.4 receptions for a total of three touchdowns, as Christian Kirk emerged as the team's first option in his second year. [247]

2020 season

On January 15, 2020, Fitzgerald re-signed with the Cardinals on a one-year deal worth $11 million. [248] On November 26, 2020, Fitzgerald was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list after testing positive for the virus, [249] and was activated on December 8. [250] Overall, Fitzgerald appeared in 13 games in the 2020 season. He finished the season with a career-low 54 receptions for 409 receiving yards and one touchdown, which occurred in Week 15 against the Philadelphia Eagles. [251] He became a free agent after the 2020 season. [252]

NFL career statistics

Legend
NFL record
Led the league
BoldCareer high

Regular season

YearTeamGamesReceivingFumbles
GPGSTgtRecYdsAvgLngTDFumLost
2004 ARI 16161155878013.448810
2005 ARI 16161651031,40913.7471000
2006 ARI 13131116994613.757600
2007 ARI 15151671001,40914.148T1033
2008 ARI 1616154961,43114.978T1210
2009 ARI 1616153971,09211.334T1300
2010 ARI 1615173901,13712.641T600
2011 ARI 1616154801,41117.673T800
2012 ARI 16161567179811.237T400
2013 ARI 16161358295411.6751011
2014 ARI 14131036378412.480T211
2015 ARI 16161451091,21511.144922
2016 ARI 16161501071,0239.632621
2017 ARI 16161611091,15610.737611
2018 ARI 16161126973410.637600
2019 ARI 16161097580410.754411
2020 ARI 131372544097.618100
Career2632612,3351,43217,49212.280T1211310

Playoffs

YearTeamGamesReceivingFumbles
GPGSTgtRecYdsAvgLngTDFumLost
2008 ARI 44423054618.264T700
2009 ARI 22161215913.333T211
2014 ARI 11833110.314000
2015 ARI 22191220617.275100
Career99855794216.5751011

Records

NFL records

Cardinals franchise records

As of 2019's NFL off-season, Larry Fitzgerald held at least 40 Cardinals franchise records, including:

Personal life

Fitzgerald at the Child Development Center on Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, in 2006 Larry Fitzgerald 060621-F-0782R-007 0T3TE crop.jpg
Fitzgerald at the Child Development Center on Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, in 2006

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. [312] Fitzgerald's mother, Carol, died of a brain hemorrhage while being treated for breast cancer in 2003. [313] During the 2008 season, Larry Fitzgerald was accused of domestic violence against Angela Nazario, who filed for an order of protection against him. [314] [315] [316] [317]

In 2016, Fitzgerald completed his undergraduate degree with the University of Phoenix, fulfilling a promise that he made to his mother to finish his education. [318] Since graduation he has become a paid spokesperson for the University of Phoenix. [319] Fitzgerald is an avid traveler and has visited nearly 100 countries. [320] He has two sons. [321]

Fitzgerald developed a friendship with Arizona politician John McCain, and spoke at the memorial service for the U.S. senator and Presidential candidate held in Phoenix on August 30, 2018. [322] [323]

On January 22, 2020, Fitzgerald bought a minority stake in the NBA's Phoenix Suns to become a partial team owner. [324] Fitzgerald is now the second active NFL player behind Aaron Rodgers to hold an ownership stake with a franchise in the NBA. He has developed a long-standing friendship with franchise owner Robert Sarver since 2005, [325] with him getting more active and involved with the Suns since 2018. [326] His role with the franchise involves him being an advisor and resource for the Suns' business and basketball staff, as well as be a player advisor for both the Suns and Phoenix Mercury, their WNBA franchise. [327]

Fitzgerald is an active venture investor, having invested in 40 to 50 companies as of October 2019. Fitzgerald turned his passion to see the world into a travel business that he operates, hosting trips in a number of areas around the world. [328]

Philanthropy

Fitzgerald established the “Larry Fitzgerald First Down Fund” to help kids and their families by funding positive activities for kids during the summer and throughout the year, supporting kids and families in crisis and supporting health-related organizations that work with families. [329] One initiative the “First Down Fund” holds each summer are youth football camps in Arizona and Minnesota. [330] In May 2014, Fitzgerald and Lenovo provided five schools in Minneapolis and four schools in Phoenix Lenovo tablets and equipment to enable the children to gain access to technology. [331] The First Down Fund made a donation to the Minneapolis Park and Recreation to help refurbish a basketball court at Rev Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr Park. The court received new hoops, poles, backboards and benches. He partnered with Riddell to provide new helmets to 1,000 kids in the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation football program. [332]

Fitzgerald established the “Carol Fitzgerald Memorial Fund” in honor of his mother, who died of breast cancer in 2003. The organization offers support to causes that Fitzgerald's mother held dear, including educating urban youth about HIV/AIDS and breast cancer issues. He has served as an NFL spokesman for the league-wide breast cancer awareness initiative “A Crucial Catch” for three years and every October makes donations to breast cancer organizations based on his touchdowns and receptions during the month. [330]

In August 2012, he was honored with the 14th annual Pro Football Weekly Arthur S. Arkush Humanitarian Award for his community and charitable contributions. [330] Fitzgerald has made five USO tours to visit soldiers overseas and has raised financial support for injured and critically ill members of the U.S. military. [332]

During the 2013 season, Fitzgerald was honored with the NFL Players Association Georgetown Lombardi Award. The award was established to honor a leader in the sports industry whose life and family have been touched by cancer, and who encourages cancer research, prevention and treatment through awareness and philanthropy. [165]

In 2014, Fitzgerald was selected as the 2014 Henry P. Iba Citizen Athlete Male Recipient, which was created in 1994 by the Rotary Club of Tulsa to recognize an influential male and female premiere athlete for their success in their sport and for being a positive role model who gives back to their communities. [333]

In 2017, Fitzgerald received the Heritage Award from the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry due to his ongoing commitment to improving the lives of Arizonans. [334]

In the media

Fitzgerald was featured on the cover of the EA Sports video game NCAA Football 2005 . [335] He was one of two players, along with Troy Polamalu, featured on the cover of Madden NFL 10 , [336] making them the first two players to be featured on a Madden NFL cover together. [337]

See also

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