Larry Fitzgerald has been one of the NFL's best receivers since the Arizona Cardinals took him with the third overall pick in the 2004 draft. And despite a quarterback situation that bordered on the preposterous after Kurt Warner's retirement and the trade to Baltimore of battery mate Anquan Boldin, Fitzgerald still caught 90 passes for 1,137 yards and six touchdowns in the 2010 season. We caught up with Fitzgerald as he was enjoying his offseason, hoping that it wouldn't last too long with the current labor battles, and just after he had participated in the "Invite to Be Unstoppable" event on the EAS Unstoppable Tour, which is detailed here. We invite you to watch Sam and Larry go head-to-head in the upcoming days at www.UnstoppableTour.com.
Here's part 2 of our interview; you can find Part 1 here.
Shutdown Corner: Your player rep is Jay Feely. How often do the players on your team talk about these issues with him and among yourselves? Are they at the forefront of everyone's minds, or more part of the entire offseason list of things to think about?
Larry Fitzgerald: We really haven't been around each other much since the end of the season, but all we need to do is to call Jay or text him, and he'll get right back to you with the current information.
SC: Assuming that everything gets worked out in time, and the Cards come back to the game with the roster needed to compete for a very wide-open NFC West, what do you guys have to do as players to get back to the top?
LF: I don't think it's gonna take much; I mean, the division is pretty bad. It was last year (by the Seattle Seahawks) with a 7-9 record, and we won five games, so we were right in the thick of it. We have some work to do, but we're not far away from our goal of being NFC West champions again, and I think we're able to do it.
SC: You obviously go back a long way with Dennis Green — you were a ballboy for the Minnesota Vikings way back when, and he drafted you out of Pitt. Do you still keep in touch with him, and who else do you go to when you need personal and professional advice?
LF: I still have a relationship with Coach Green — he's like family. I talk to him often, and we've kept that going through the years. I wouldn't be in Arizona if it wasn't for him. He's one of the people I talk to, and there are a couple others.
SC: So, when you're not doing interesting drills with ex-Navy SEALS and getting texts from Jay Feely, what do you do with your offseason?
LF: I've been traveling the world, and I take great joy in photography. I just got back from a trip to Turkey, Jordan, and Israel.
SC: What is it about travel that really excites you and appeals to you?
LF: Just seeing different places around the world, trying new cuisines and seeing different cultures. I love to see new things and I love to learn. I always learn so much when I travel — that's the best thing.
SC: You're a very smart guy with a lot of interests -- kind of a Renaissance man. Do you have any specific plans for your live way down the road when playing football is no longer a part of it?
LF: Hopefully, I'm putting together a Hall of Fame speech (laughs). I want to finish my degree, first and foremost. I'm working on that right now, and once I do that, I'll probably have a better idea of what I want to do when I'm done playing.
SC: Okay — Larry, you have the podium, and you're talking to all the fans out there who do not care about what they perceive to be "millionaires versus billionaires" — they just want to see football. What would you like to tell them so that they'll understand the players' perspective?
LF: We're working hard, and we want to play. This is not our idea for a work stoppage. It's out of our hands, because the owners opted out of the last deal. We want to get out there and put on the great show for the fans that we've been putting on for years, and that's what I think I'd really like to get across.