Fitzgerald in 2017
|No. 11 – Arizona Cardinals|
August 31, 1983 |
|Height:||6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)|
|Weight:||218 lb (99 kg)|
|High school:||Richfield (MN) Academy of Holy Angels|
|NFL Draft:||2004 / Round: 1 / Pick: 3|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NFL statistics as of Week 11, 2017|
Larry Darnell Fitzgerald Jr. (born August 31, 1983) is an American football wide receiver for the Arizona Cardinals of the National Football League (NFL). He was drafted by the Cardinals third overall in the 2004 NFL Draft. He played college football at Pittsburgh, where he earned unanimous All-American honors.
Fitzgerald has been selected for the Pro Bowl ten times, and was named First-team All-Pro in 2008 and Second-team All-Pro twice in 2009 and 2011. As of 2016, he is third all-time in receptions, eighth in receiving yards (leading all active players in those two categories), and fifth in receiving touchdowns.
Larry Fitzgerald attended the Academy of Holy Angels in Richfield, Minnesota during his teenage years. Fitzgerald attended the University of Pittsburgh, where he played for the Pittsburgh Panthers football team under head coach Walt Harris. He was widely considered one of the best wide receivers in college football from 2002 to 2003.
In his freshman season, Fitzgerald was an instant contributor. In the second game of the season against Texas A&M, he had ten receptions for 103 yards. Three weeks later, against Toledo, he had six receptions for 121 yards and his first two collegiate touchdowns. Fitzgerald had another stellar outing against Virginia Tech on November 2. Against the Hokies, he had five receptions for 105 yards and three touchdowns. In the last regular season game of the season on November 30, he had 11 receptions for 159 yards and two touchdowns against West Virginia. In the 2002 Insight Bowl, Fitzgerald had five receptions for 88 yards and a touchdown. Overall, in the 2002 season, Fitzgerald had 69 receptions for 1,005 yards and twelve touchdowns.
Fitzgerald had a stellar sophomore season in 2003. He began the campaign against Kent State. Against the Golden Flashes, he had six receptions for 123 yards and three touchdowns. In the next game against Ball State, he had seven receptions for 124 yards and two touchdowns. Fitzgerald once again put out a great effort in the following game against Toledo. Against the Rockets, he had 12 receptions for 201 yards and a touchdown. In the next game against Texas A&M, Fitzgerald had his fourth consecutive game with at least 100 receiving yards. Against the Aggies, he had seven receptions for 135 yards and three touchdowns. Two weeks later, against Notre Dame, he was held under 100 yards for the first time. However, he still had five receptions for 79 yards and two touchdowns. Fitzgerald bounced back in the next game against Rutgers. Against the Scarlet Knights, he had eight receptions for a season-high 207 yards and two touchdowns. Fitzgerald's hot streak continued in the next game against Syracuse, where he had eight receptions for 149 yards and two touchdowns. 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 against Boston College. In the following week against Virginia Tech, he had eight receptions for 108 yards and a touchdown. Fitzgerald added another great performance against West Virginia in the following week. Against the Mountaineers, he had nine receptions for 185 yards and two touchdowns. In the following week against Temple, he had seven receptions for 102 yards and two touchdowns. Fitzgerald's performance against the Owls was his sixth consecutive game with at least 100 receiving yards. Fitzgerald's impressive streak would end the following week against Miami. In the game, he had three receptions for 26 yards and a touchdown. 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. In the 2003 Continental Tire Bowl, Fitzgerald had five receptions for 77 yards in the final game of his collegiate career. He was held without a touchdown for the first time in 18 collegiate games.
Overall, Fitzgerald had 92 receptions for 1,672 yards and 22 touchdowns in the 2003 season.
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 the award that year by a relatively slim margin.
In just 26 games with the Panthers, Fitzgerald caught 161 passes for 2,677 yards and set a new Pitt record with 34 receiving touchdowns. He was the first player in school history with back-to-back 1,000-yard receiving seasons, and his 14 games with at least 100 yards receiving broke Antonio Bryant's previous all-time Panthers record of 13. Fitzgerald's 18 straight games with at least one touchdown reception is a NCAA record.
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.
|Ht||Wt||40‑yd dash||10-yd split||20-yd split||20‑ss||3‑cone||Vert jump||Broad|
|6 ft 2 7⁄8 in
|All values from Pittsburgh Pro Day|
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. 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 initially won, but it was later overturned on appeal), the NFL considered Fitzgerald's case separate from Clarett's.
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. 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.
Fitzgerald made his NFL debut against the St. Louis Rams in the 2004 season opener on September 12. In the 17–10 loss, he had four receptions for 70 yards. 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. 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. 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. He followed up his historic performance in the next game against the Seattle Seahawks, in which he had four receptions for 70 yards and two touchdowns.
Fitzgerald started his second professional season with a 13-reception, 155-yard, and one-touchdown performance against the New York Giants in the season opener on September 11. Three weeks later, he had seven receptions for 102 yards against the San Francisco 49ers. He followed that good performance up with a great outing against the Carolina Panthers in the next game, where he had nine receptions for 136 yards and a touchdown. On November 13, in the ninth game of the season, Fitzgerald had eight receptions for 102 yards against the Seattle Seahawks. In the next game against the Detroit Lions, he had nine receptions for 141 yards and a touchdown. He posted his third consecutive game with at least 100 receiving yards in the next game against the St. Louis Rams. In the game, he had nine receptions for 104 yards and a touchdown. Fitzgerald started the month of December with eight receptions for 129 yards against the San Francisco 49ers. Fitzgerald closed out the regular season with a touchdown catch in each of the last three games. Fitzgerald and the Cardinals missed the playoffs with a 6–10 record.
In 2005, Fitzgerald led the NFL with 103 receptions for 1,409 yards (4th) and 10 touchdowns (5th) 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, 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, to each catch over 100 passes top the 1,400-yard mark.
Fitzgerald started his third professional season with nine receptions for 133 yards against the San Francisco 49ers. He had his first touchdown of the season in the third game against the St. Louis Rams. He sustained a hamstring injury and missed three games. He returned against the Dallas Cowboys on November 12 in a 27–10 defeat. Two weeks later, he had 11 receptions for 162 yards against the Minnesota Vikings. He closed out the 2006 season with four receiving touchdowns in the last five games.
Overall, on the 2006 season, Fitzgerald recorded 69 receptions for 946 yards and six touchdowns as the Cardinals went 5-11.
Fitzgerald started the 2007 season with a slow performance against the San Francisco 49ers, where he had only three receptions for 20 yards. Three games later, he had ten receptions for 120 yards against the Pittsburgh Steelers. In the next game, he had his first touchdown of the season against the St. Louis Rams in a nine-catch, 136-yard performance. On November 11, he had eight receptions for 74 yards and two touchdowns against the Detroit Lions. Two weeks later, he had nine receptions for 156 yards and two touchdowns against the San Francisco 49ers. In the regular season finale against the St. Louis Rams, he had 11 receptions for 171 yards and two touchdowns. Fitzgerald and the Cardinals finished with a 8-8 record.
As part of his 2007 Pro Bowl season, Fitzgerald 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. Fitzgerald's numbers earned him the nickname "Sticky Fingers" and "The Best Hands in the NFL" in local media.
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 touchdown. In the second game of the season, he had six receptions for 153 yards against the Miami Dolphins. He followed that up with seven receptions for 109 yards against the Washington Redskins in the next game. 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. 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.
On November 16, Fitzgerald had ten receptions for 151 yards against the Seattle Seahawks. On November 27, he had his second multi-touchdown game of the season, this time in a 65-yard performance against the Philadelphia Eagles. Fitzgerald finished the regular season strong with three receptions for 101 yards and a touchdown against the New England Patriots and five receptions for 130 yards and two touchdowns against the Seattle Seahawks.
Fitzgerald finished the regular season with 96 receptions for 1,431 yards and 12 touchdowns. For the first time in Fitzgerald's career, the Cardinals finished with a winning record at 9–7 and made the playoffs.
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. In the Divisional Round against the Carolina Panthers, he had eight receptions for 166 yards in the 33–13 victory. During the NFC Championship for the 2008 NFL season, Fitzgerald tied a 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. As a result of the 32–25 victory over the Eagles, Fitzgerald and the Cardinals represented the NFC in Super Bowl XLIII. 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, but the score did not hold as the Pittsburgh Steelers scored with only 35 seconds remaining to go ahead 27–23, which was the game's final score. Fitzgerald set a single postseason record with 546 receiving yards, 30 receptions, and seven touchdown receptions, surpassing Jerry Rice's records of the 1988–89 NFL playoffs.
Fitzgerald followed up his great 2008 season by catching two more touchdown passes in the 2009 Pro Bowl, earning him MVP honors. 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. 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.
Coming off of a tough loss in the Super Bowl, Fitzgerald started the 2009 season with six receptions for 71 yards against the San Francisco 49ers. In the fourth game of the season, he had five receptions for 79 yards and two touchdowns against the Houston Texans. The following week, he had 13 receptions for 100 yards and a touchdown against the Seattle Seahawks. On November 8 against the Chicago Bears, he had nine receptions for 123 yards and two touchdowns. On December 6, he had eight receptions for 143 yards and a touchdown against the Minnesota Vikings. He finished out the 2009 regular season with a receiving touchdown in the last three games. Overall, he had 97 receptions for 1,092 yards and 13 touchdowns in the 2009 season as the Cardinals went 10–6 and returned to the playoffs.
In the Wild Card Round, he had two touchdown receptions in the against the Green Bay Packers in a 51–45 win. However, the Cardinals were eliminated the next week by the eventual Super Bowl XLIV champion New Orleans Saints in the Divisional Round by a score of 45–14.
Fitzgerald started the 2010 season recording a touchdown against the St. Louis Rams in a 17–13 victory. He did not post any of his usual stellar results until later on in the season. On Halloween, he had six receptions for 72 yards and two touchdowns against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In the next game, he had his first game of the season breaking over the 100-yard mark with 107 yards on seven receptions against the Minnesota Vikings. On December 19, against the Carolina Panthers, he had nine receptions for 125 yards. 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. Fitzgerald and the Cardinals failed to return to the playoffs with a 5–11 record.
Overall, in the 2010 season, Fitzgerald caught 90 passes (5th in the NFL) for 1,137 yards and six touchdowns. After the season, he was named to his fifth Pro Bowl, and his fourth in a row.
Fitzgerald's first solid outing came against the Washington Redskins in the second game, where he had seven receptions for 133 yards and a touchdown. Two games later, he had eight receptions for 102 yards against the New York Giants. On November 13, he had seven receptions for 146 yards and two touchdowns against the Philadelphia Eagles. A few games later, he had seven receptions for 149 yards and a touchdown against the San Francisco 49ers. On Christmas Eve, he had six receptions for 105 yards and a touchdown against the Cincinnati Bengals. He closed out the regular season with nine receptions for 149 yards against the Seattle Seahawks. The Cardinals finished with a 8–8 record and missed the playoffs.
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. Fitzgerald's accomplishments were recognized by an All-Pro second team selection as well as his sixth Pro Bowl selection.
Fitzgerald started the 2012 season with four receptions for 63 yards against the Seattle Seahawks. 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. 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 penultimate game of the regular season against the Chicago Bears, he had eight receptions for 111 yards.
Overall, on the season, Fitzgerald had 71 receptions for 798 yards and four touchdowns as the Cardinals went 5–11 and missed the playoffs.
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. 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. On November 24, against the Indianapolis Colts, he had five receptions for 52 yards and two touchdowns. Two weeks later, Fitzgerald caught all 12 of his targets for 96 yards and a touchdown in a 30–10 victory over the Rams. In the regular season finale against the 49ers, he had six receptions for 113 yards.
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.
Fitzgerald started his 11th season in the NFL against the San Diego Chargers. In the game, he only had one reception for 22 yards. He did not have his first touchdown of the season until the fifth game against the Washington Redskins, where he had six receptions for 98 yards. On October 26 against the Philadelphia Eagles, he had seven receptions for a season-high 160 yards and a touchdown. Two weeks later, he had nine receptions for 112 yards against the St. Louis Rams.
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.
On February 18, 2015, Fitzgerald was signed to a new multi-year contract worth at least $11 million guaranteed over the next two seasons.
In Week 2 against the Chicago Bears, Fitzgerald caught three touchdown passes, the first time he accomplished the feat during the regular season in his career. In the next game, he had nine receptions for 134 yards and two touchdowns against the San Francisco 49ers. On November 15, he had ten receptions for 130 yards against the Seattle Seahawks. 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. He closed out the 2015 regular season with a receiving touchdown in the last two games.
For the 2015 season, Fitzgerald had 109 catches (T-5th in the NFL) for 1,215 yards and nine touchdowns. 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.
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. 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. 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.
On August 5, 2016, Fitzgerald signed a one-year, $11 million contract extension with the Cardinals.
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 loss to the New England Patriots on NBC Sunday Night Football. In the fifth game of the season, he had six receptions for 81 yards and two touchdowns against the San Francisco 49ers. On November 13, he had 12 receptions for 132 yards in another strong outing against the 49ers. In the regular season finale against the Los Angeles Rams, he had five receptions for 43 yards and scored his first receiving touchdown since the first meeting with the 49ers.
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. He moved from 11th to 3rd on the all-time career reception list, and ended the season 9th all-time in receiving yards. He was also ranked 45th by his peers on the NFL Top 100 Players of 2017.
With the retirement 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 and a touchdown in a loss to the Dallas Cowboys, his highest output in almost three years. The next week, he caught a 19-yard walk-off touchdown from Palmer with 0:31 left in overtime to defeat the San Francisco 49ers by a score of 18–15. In Week 6, Fitzgerald had 10 receptions for 138 yards and a touchdown against Tampa Bay, and 10 receptions for 113 yards in Week 10's Thursday Night loss to Seattle, joining Antonio Brown as the only players with three games of 10+ receptions in 2017, and briefly passing Brown for the league lead in receptions. On November 17, 2017, Fitzgerald signed a one-year contract extension with the Cardinals through the 2018 season.
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. Fitzgerald's mother, Carol, died of a brain hemorrhage while being treated for breast cancer in 2003. Fitzgerald also has a younger brother, Marcus Fitzgerald, who was a wide receiver for the Sacramento Mountain Lions of the United Football League.
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. One initiative the “First Down Fund” holds each summer are youth football camps in Arizona and Minnesota. 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. 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 also partnered with Riddell to provide new helmets to 1,000 kids in the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation football program.
Fitzgerald also 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 deep 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.
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.
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.
Following the 2012 football season, Fitzgerald was named the “Arizona Cardinals/Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year” and was one of three finalists for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award. In August 2012, he was honored with the 14th annual Pro Football Weekly Arthur S. Arkush Humanitarian Award for his community and charitable contributions.
During the 2011, 2012, and 2014 offseasons, Fitzgerald joined other NFL players partaking in mission trips to Africa, India, Thailand and the Philippines to support economic development projects. He has worked with Starkey Hearing Foundation to provide hearing aids for children and adults in need in eight countries. Fitzgerald has also made five USO tours to visit soldiers overseas and has raised financial support for injured and critically ill members of the U.S. military.
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. Since graduation he has become a paid spokesperson for the University of Phoenix. Fitzgerald is an avid traveler and has visited nearly 100 countries worldwide.
Fitzgerald was featured on the cover of the EA Sports video game NCAA Football 2005. He was also one of two players (along with Troy Polamalu) featured on the cover of Madden NFL 10, making them the first two players to be featured on a Madden NFL cover together.
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