‘Fitz’ says he has much to prove to coach Wilks

The Arizona Republic - - Front Page - Kent Somers

De­spite all his ac­com­plish­ments af­ter 14 years in the NFL, Car­di­nals re­ceiver Larry Fitzger­ald says he — like all of his team­mates — has a lot to prove to earn his po­si­tion on the field un­der new head coach Steve Wilks. Fitzger­ald turns 35 in Au­gust. “I know what’s ex­pected of me,” Fitzger­ald said. “I know what’s re­quired, so I’m ready to go.”

Car­di­nals WR im­pressed with new coach Wilks

When Car­di­nals re­ceiver Larry Fitzger­ald de­cided to play again this fall, he knew he was sign­ing up for work in the spring, too.

So he didn’t com­plain when the team’s strength and con­di­tion­ing pro­gram be­gan two weeks ago. And he won’t be belly­ach­ing on Tues­day when a three-day vol­un­tary mini­camp be­gins.

“Foot­ball is dif­fer­ent than any other sport,” Fitzger­ald said on Mon­day. “When you make a de­ci­sion to come back, you have to be fully en­gaged in the task at hand. I know what’s ex­pected of me. I know what’s re­quired, so I’m ready to go.”

Fitzger­ald, who turns 35 in Au­gust, is en­ter­ing his 15th sea­son and will be playing for his fourth head coach, Steve Wilks.

The new coach and the best player in Ari­zona Car­di­nals his­tory have spent a con­sid­er­able amount of time to­gether over the past month, and Fitzger­ald is im­pressed.

“He’s hard-work­ing, hum­ble and ex­tremely in­quis­i­tive,” Fitzger­ald said. “He’s an un­be­liev­able leader. I was im­pressed just see­ing how he in­ter­acted with peo­ple. He knows names of the peo­ple up­stairs, the mar­ket­ing de­part­ment, the land­sca­pers, the cus­to­di­ans and lunch ladies.

“Just the times he’s ad­dressed our team, you get the feel­ing of, ‘Man, I want to fol­low him.’ ”

Fitzger­ald raved about Wilks’ staff, too, in­clud­ing of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Mike McCoy, the for­mer Charg­ers head coach.

This is also the fourth dif­fer­ent offense Fitzger­ald will learn, and if the off­sea­son goes as planned, Sam Brad­ford likely will be­come the 15th quar-

MICHAEL CHOW/THE REPUB­LIC

Car­di­nals re­ceiver Larry Fitzger­ald turns 35 in Au­gust and is en­ter­ing his 15th sea­son with the team.

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