Childhood & Early Life
Larry was born on August 31, 1983, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, US. His father, Larry Fitzgerald Sr., serves the ‘Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder’ as a sportswriter; he became the first reporter to cover his own son in a ‘Super Bowl.’
He lost his mother to a brain haemorrhage in 2003, while she was undergoing breast cancer treatment. Larry later established the ‘Carol Fitzgerald Memorial Fund’ in her honour.
He studied at the Academy of Holy Angels in Richfield, Minnesota, and at the University of Pittsburgh.
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During the 2004 NFL Draft, he was drafted third overall by ‘Arizona Cardinals.’ Larry made his NFL debut on September 12 that year against ‘St. Louis Rams.’
He became the youngest player at 21 years and 110 days to set a record of scoring at least two touchdown receptions in a single game in a match against ‘St. Louis Rams’ on December 19, 2004. The record was later broken in 2010 by Aaron Hernandez of ‘New England Patriots.’
Larry had 103 receptions for 1,409 yards and 10 touchdowns during the 2005 NFL season and was named in the NFL’s all-star game for the 2005 season, and the 2006 Pro Bowl, marking his first ‘Pro Bowl.’ He joined hands with Anquan Boldin and created one of the most powerful wide receiver tandems in the league.
He had 100 receptions for 1,409 yards and 10 touchdowns during the 2007 season and was nicknamed by the local media as "The Best Hands in the NFL" and "Sticky Fingers.” ‘Arizona Cardinals’ signed 4 years contract extension, worth $40 million, with him at the end of the season.
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The 2008 season proved as one of the most successful seasons for Larry. He finished it with 96 receptions for 1,431 yards and a league highest of 12 touchdowns. The Cardinals also completed the season with a winning record at 9–7 and made the playoffs.
His three touchdown receptions in a playoff game in the NFC Championship for the 2008 NFL season tied a NFL record. With this, he emerged as the first player in the history of the NFL to achieve such success during a conference championship game.
The Cardinals (including Larry), as the National Football Conference (NFC) champions, faced the American Football Conference (AFC) champions, Pittsburgh Steelers, at the Super Bowl XLIII on February 1, 2009. The ‘Steelers’ won the game with a score of 27–23.
With 546 receiving yards, 30 receptions and 7 touchdown receptions, Larry set a single postseason record that outperformed the earlier records of Jerry Rice set during the 1988–89 NFL playoffs. He continued his remarkable performance in the NFL’s all-star game for the 2008 season, the 2009 Pro Bowl held on February 8, 2009. He caught two more touchdown passes in the game where the NFC defeated the AFC, 30–21. Larry received the ‘MVP’ honor and was named a ‘First-team All-Pro’ for the 2008 season.
His performance in 2009 season (including 97 receptions for 1,092 yards and 13 touchdowns) got him his third consecutive Pro Bowl, overall fourth of his career.
The ‘Cardinals’ signed an 8-year, $120 million contract with him on August 20, 2011, that tied him with Richard Seymour as the NFL’s fifth highest paid player. He earned the ‘NFC Offensive Player of the Week’ honours after having 7 receptions for 146 yards and 2 touchdowns against the ‘Philadelphia Eagles’ on November 13 that year. He earned the honour three more times - 2012, 2014 and 2015.
He finished the 2011 season with 80 receptions for 1,411 yards and 8 touchdowns, apart from setting a personal record of 17.6 yards per catch.
He was named to his seventh successive consecutive ‘Pro Bowl’ in the 2013 season that marked an overall eighth of his career.
The ‘Cardinals’ signed a new multi-year contract with him on February 18, 2015, with a minimum of $11 million guaranteed over the next two seasons. He became the youngest and the eleventh player to reach the milestone of 1,000 career receptions in the thirteenth week of that season. The Cardinals completed the season with a 13–3 record and won the NFC West. Larry had 109 receptions for 1,215 yards and 9 touchdowns, and was selected for his ninth Pro Bowl.
The ‘Cardinals’ signed a one-year and $11 million contract extension with him on August 5, 2016. Larry finished the season with 107 receptions for 1,023 yards and 6 touchdowns and garnered the 3rd position on the all-time career reception list. He was selected to his tenth career Pro Bowl that season.
The ‘Cardinals’ signed a one-year contract extension for the 2018 season with him on November 17, 2017. Although he was named in his eleventh Pro Bowl on December 19 that year, later it was declared that Larry would be replaced by Seattle Seahawks’ Doug Baldwin.
The cover of video game, ‘NCAA Football 2005,’ of EA Sports featured him. He was also featured on the cover of ‘Madden NFL 10’ with Troy Polamalu.
Personal Life & Legacy
An order of protection was filed against him by former ‘Oakland Raiders’ cheerleader, Angela Nazario. Larry was charged with domestic violence against her during the 2008 season.
His charitable and social endeavours include the ‘Larry Fitzgerald First Down Fund,’ ‘Carol Fitzgerald Memorial Fund.’ He was also associated with the NFL for three years for their initiative on breast cancer awareness ‘A Crucial Catch’.
His social and humanitarian efforts and contributions got him the 14th annual ‘Pro Football Weekly Arthur S. Arkush Humanitarian Award’ in August 2012, the ‘NFL Players Association Georgetown Lombardi Award’ in 2013; and the ‘Henry P. Iba Citizen Athlete Male’ in 2014.
He had promised his mother to complete his education, so he pursued a degree from the University of Phoenix in 2016. Following his graduation, Larry became a paid spokesperson of the university.