Wideout Fitzgerald takes long route back to playo≠ s
tempe, ariz. » Seven years ago, Larry Fitzgeraldwas breaking NFL records in the Arizona Cardinals’ improbable run to the Super Bowl.
It was, the wide receiver said, the highlight of his professional career. At least so far.
“Playing on the biggest stage in the Super Bowl, not winning it, but just the journey that Iwas able to take with the men I was able to do it with really made it special,” Fitzgerald said. “Hopefully, we can create some new memories this year.”
When the Cardinals play the Green Bay Packers in a divisional round game Saturday night, things will be quite different than they were back when he was the spectacular young player on the receiving end of Kurt Warner’s passes.
For one, his role has changed. For another, Arizona is expected to win.
In 2008, the Cardinals won the NFCWest at 9- 7, losing four of their last six games.
“We were considered the worst playoff team ever to get into the dance,” Fitzgerald recalled, “but it’s a lot different situation when you’re being hunted as opposed to hunting.
“We came in the surprise team. ‘ They’ll probably get knocked out in the first round.’ Nobody expected anything and we kind of played to that. Now we’re the favorites. We’re expected to win.”
Through those four playoff games, Fitzgerald shattered single postseason records for yards ( 546), receptions ( 30) and touchdowns ( seven).
Arizona won the NFC West again the following season, but Warner retired and the team’s fortunes spiraleddownwardwith a succession of quarterbacks.