Prep school, college and now the NFL has taken Minneapolis’ Larry Fitzgerald far from home. Still, Fitzgerald spent the off season here before heading back to Arizona to play for the Cardinals and former Viking coach Denny Green. In a summer interview Fitzgerald said “Minneapolis is always home. I will be here from April to the end of July every year.”
Fitzgerald grew up on the south side of the city and through his sportswriter father Larry met Green. It was the elder Fitzgerald who asked the coach if his son could be a Vikings ball boy. In that role young Larry received a tutorial on being a receiver from Vikings receivers including Cris Carter. Randy Moss helped, too, but Fitzgerald said Carter had the most impact noting that Carter was more vocal and instructive.
Fitzgerald learned his lessons, applied his natural gifts, starred at Holy Angels and the University of Pittsburgh, and made the NFC’s 2006 Pro Bowl roster as a wide receiver after his second season with the Cardinals. He has three more years on his contract with Arizona. And then?
“I hope in the next few years I can work out an extension with the Arizona Cardinals,” Fitzgerald said. “That would be great.”
The Vikings? “If that’s what happens I would be more than happy to play at home,” he said. “I have been a huge Vikings fan since I was a child. That would definitely be a dream come true for me but I am enjoying my time in Arizona with coach Green. He’s a great coach and great man. . . I love playing for him.”
Fitzgerald’s dad, and his mom Carol, who passed away a few years ago, insisted that Larry adopt a humanitarian view toward life and be involved with community work. “I have a big heart,” Fitzgerald said in thinking about his mom. “ If I see someone struggling or in need I am never gonna let that go. I am going to go out there and help somebody because it’s kind of the way my mom was. Even if she did not have the resources she would find somebody who did to help people out in the community.”