The relief is tremendous.
Larry Fitzgerald is more than a highly talented wide receiver for the Arizona Cardinals. He is standard setter, the catalyst, the difference-maker on and off the field.
‘I kind of thought it was going to go the other way, to be honest’
And the fact he has committed to play another season with the Cardinals was music to the ears of the team’s center, A.Q. Shipley, and everyone else on the team.
“I kind of thought it was going to go the other way, to be honest,” Shipley told Alex Marvez and Phil Savage on Late Hits. “I knew, (when quarterback) Carson (Palmer) retired, the coach (Bruce Arians) leaving, I think there was a lot of things pointing in the other direction. And I think, with that announcement (of Fitzgerald’s return), all of Arizona Cardinals nation as well as myself and the rest of the guys on the team are super excited.
‘When I came to Arizona, he’s the guy, obviously, with the reputation second to none’
“We can now kind of take a deep breath and know that he’s coming back. He’s the heart and soul of our team.”
There’s a lengthy list of qualities about Fitzgerald that Shipley admires. The receiver has always served as a symbol of how an NFL player should conduct himself.
‘He does it as well as anybody I’ve ever seen’
“He’s the ultimate pro, there’s no question about it,” Shipley said. “When I came to Arizona, he’s the guy, obviously, with the reputation second to none. He was a guy who I just tried to look around … at the older guys — the guys who have been there, the guys who have done it right and he does it as well as anybody I’ve ever seen.
“He spends more time there during the season getting his body right, staying extra on Saturdays, hot tub, cold tub, getting work done by the trainers, all that stuff. And the thing that’s most impressive is we could be doing a walk-through, we could be doing a Friday practice two days before the game. He’s diving for balls because that’s just who he is. He just never wants the ball to touch the ground. He’s a receiver, he wants to catch every ball and that’s just how he was raised and how he grew up playing the game.”