Larry Fitzgerald Jr.: My dad was a ‘gigantic’ sports fan
Posted On July 24, 2021
Larry Fitzgerald Sr. is the father of Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, and he told ESPN on Tuesday that his father was a “gigant” sports fan who was a big fan of the NFL.
Fitzgerald Sr.’s dad, Larry Fitzgerald III, was a star quarterback for the Cincinnati Bengals, the last time they made the playoffs.
Fitzgerald Jr. says he was a regular fan of football for decades.
He grew up watching the Steelers, Packers and Cowboys play in Cincinnati.
“He would say, ‘Dad, the Bengals are the greatest team in the history of the world,'” Fitzgerald Jr., now the running backs coach at the University of Central Florida, said of his dad.
“And I was like, ‘What?'”
Fitzgerald Jr.’s father is not a big NFL fan, but he has fond memories of watching football on TV when he was growing up.
“I remember the games, and I would go and watch them,” Fitzgerald Jr said.
“There was a lot of football.”
Fitzgerald Jr, a former high school football star, said his father always brought him to the NFL games.
“We always went to games together.
We would go to the airport together, go to his house, and watch the games,” Fitzgerald Sr., now a senior running back at Central Florida and a member of the Universitys Football Hall of Fame, said.
Fitzgerald said his dad’s passion for football grew during his childhood and teenage years, and it was a passion that never changed.
“It was always something he was passionate about.
And I think it is just the fact that it was something that was really special to him,” Fitzgerald said.
The two grew up in the suburbs of Cincinnati, but Fitzgerald Jr and his wife, Julie, moved to Phoenix to attend the University at Phoenix in 2005.
Fitzgerald and Julie Fitzgerald Jr were the first to graduate from the University.
Fitzgerald was a two-time team captain and also played football at the U.S. Naval Academy, while Julie played baseball at the Naval Academy.
“That was the most important thing for me,” Fitzgerald, who was drafted in the fifth round by the Cardinals in 2005, said Tuesday of his father.
“To have my father be a part of that, that was a special thing.
I feel blessed to have that experience.
And just having him around every day, I feel privileged to have him there.”
Fitzgerald Sr, a longtime Cincinnati Bengals fan, said that his son’s love of the sport was evident in his father’s approach to the game.
“The only thing that really mattered to me was my dad,” Fitzgerald told ESPN.
“Even though he was in the game, I felt like, that’s all that mattered to him.
To have that passion for the game that he had was very special to me.”
Fitzgerald said that he was always able to identify with his father when it came to sports, and that his dad was very supportive of his playing career.
“When I was in high school, my dad really was the reason why I played football.
And even though he wasn’t a huge football fan, I just knew how much he loved football,” Fitzgerald wrote on his Twitter page.
“As a kid, he would come over to our house and I’d play in his backyard, just hanging out with his buddies and watching the game.”
Fitzgerald, now the receivers coach at Central Arizona, said he is still in contact with his former coach, Bob Griese, who coached Fitzgerald for 10 years.
“Bob was a huge influence in my life,” Fitzgerald recalled.
“A lot of times you just talk to Bob about things and he’ll just kind of say, like, you know what, I’ll talk to you later.”
Fitzgerald was drafted by the Arizona Cardinals in the fourth round in the 2005 NFL draft and played three seasons for the team before the team cut him and released him.
He signed with the Cincinnati Cardinals in 2016.