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Fitzgerald returns to site of Super Bowl near miss

AP - Sports

SARASOTA, Fla. (AP) -- Raymond James Stadium brings back bitter memories for Larry Fitzgerald.

The last time the Arizona Cardinals' wide receiver was in the Tampa stadium was in 2009, and he was 35 seconds away from being a Super Bowl champion. Instead, his Cardinals lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers, 27-23, when Santonio Holmes caught a touchdown pass from Ben Roethlisberger in the final minute.

Before Holmes' catch, it was Fitzgerald who was likely to pull down MVP honors after making seven catches for 127 yards and two touchdowns. His 64-yard touchdown catch with 2:37 left gave the Cardinals their first lead.

He'll return there Sunday when the Cardinals face the winless Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

''Yeah, I don't have the best memories of this place,'' Fitzgerald said. ''It would be nice to leave here with a win.''

Fitzgerald practiced all week and says he's over the hamstring issues that hampered the previous week. He took himself out of a game in the Sept. 15 victory over Detroit, then missed practice most of the next week. Still, he played in last Sunday's 31-7 loss at New Orleans.

This matchup carries none of the luster of that heady 2008 season, when Fitzgerald shattered most of the playoff receiving records as the favorite target of Kurt Warner in that surprising run through the NFC.

But Fitzgerald expects Tampa Bay (0-3) to be a formidable foe. The Buccaneers should look at the 1-2 Cardinals as potential victims.

''You watch them on tape and obviously the Jets game they had the roughing late in the game. They definitely should have won that game. The Saints game they had a big touchdown called back,'' Fitzgerald said. ''''They could easily be 2-1. They are a good football team. They see the schedule and see Arizona coming to town, they are going to try to get healthy on us.''

On Friday, the Cardinals confirmed that nose tackle Dan Williams will miss a second game following the death of his father in a car crash en route to watch Williams play. Rookie linebacker and special teams player Kevin Minter is out with a hamstring injury. Safety Rashad Johnson, who had the tip of his left middle finger chopped off in the New Orleans game, practiced on a limited basis and is listed as questionable.

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

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