|Full Name||Larry Darnell Fitzgerald Jr.|
|Birthday||August 31, 1983|
|Height||6′ 3′′ (1.91 m)|
|Weight||218 lb (99 kg)|
|Draft||1st round, 3rd overall (2004)|
Larry Fitzgerald is an American football legend who is considered one of the greatest wide receivers in NFL history. As the longtime face of the Arizona Cardinals franchise, Fitzgerald has amazed fans for over a decade with his incredible athletic gifts, work ethic, and professionalism. His sustained excellence has cemented his legacy as a surefire Hall of Famer.
Fitzgerald‘s Football Journey
Born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Fitzgerald grew up excelling at both football and basketball. His stellar play for the Academy of Holy Angels high school in Richfield earned him All-State honors in both sports. Fitzgerald accepted a scholarship at the University of Pittsburgh, where he immediately became one of college football‘s most dynamic receivers. He set numerous school and NCAA freshman records on his way to being named the best wide receiver in college football in 2003.
The Arizona Cardinals selected Fitzgerald with the 3rd overall pick in the 2004 NFL Draft. As a rookie, he proved his worth by amassing over 1,400 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns. After a few seasons developing his game, Fitzgerald put together one of the greatest postseason performances ever by a wide receiver during the Cardinals‘ 2008 Super Bowl run. His spectacular 7 touchdown catches remain a single-postseason record.
Remarkably consistent and durable, Fitzgerald missed just 6 regular season contests over his first 13 years in Arizona. He produced at an elite level year in and year out, averaging over 85 receptions, 1,100 yards and 8 touchdowns per season. Fitzgerald hit his peak from 2011-2015, earning First-Team All-Pro honors in each of those years.
"Larry prepares himself like no other. The way he practices, studies film, trains his body — he‘s the model for success and commitment." – Former Cardinals HC Ken Whisenhunt
Standing 6‘3" and 225 lbs with sprinter-like speed, Fitzgerald combined ideal size and athleticism for the receiver position. He became renowned for his soft hands and incredible body control, able to catch the ball at its highest point over any defender. Cardinals fans will never forget his acrobatic one-handed grabs along the sideline or in the corners of the end zone.
Fitzgerald‘s work ethic and relentless commitment to improvement set him apart. He trained rigorously in the offseason and constantly studied film to refine every aspect of his game. Former coaches and teammates rave about Fitzgerald‘s consummate professionalism, leadership, and humble team-first approach. His preparation and determination enabled sustained excellence.
By The Numbers
- 1,432 receptions (2nd all-time in NFL history)
- 17,492 receiving yards (2nd all-time)
- 121 receiving touchdowns (6th all-time)
- 11 Pro Bowl selections
- 2008 & 2011-2015 First-Team All-Pro
- Named to NFL 2000s & 2010s All-Decade Teams
- Arizona Cardinals Ring of Honor inductee (2018)
The Consummate Professional
While Fitzgerald made his mark as one of the game‘s best ever pass catchers, his character and class off the field proved just as impactful. He served as an ideal ambassador for the Cardinals organization and model for young players.
Fitzgerald became renowned for his sportsmanship, avoiding showboating and instead letting his preparation and play speak for themselves. He treated opponents with the utmost respect. Fitzgerald‘s tireless commitment to community service also stands out. Through his "Larry Fitzgerald First Down Fund," he has donated millions to further education and health care initiatives.
Winding Down a Legendary Career
As he entered his late 30s, Fitzgerald contemplated retirement but continued his career on 1-year contracts to remain with Arizona. His numbers gradually declined from their astronomical peaks, yet he remained a trusted and clutch 3rd down receiver. Fitzgerald also relished his role as a mentor, guiding the Cardinals‘ young receiving corps.
In 2022, at age 39, Fitzgerald officially became a free agent for the first time in his career. While he did not announce his retirement, Fitzgerald did not sign with any team amid speculation that he would finally hang up his cleats. Cardinals fans hoped the icon would get one last season and send-off in their uniform.
When Fitzgerald does retire, he will do so as a certain first-ballot Hall of Famer. The team will undoubtedly retire his No. 11 jersey quickly and erect a statue in his honor outside their stadium. After 17 remarkable seasons, Cardinals fans will treasure the memories of cheering on an all-time NFL great.