Will Adrian Peterson sneak into Minneapolis to make an appearance Friday at the 11th annual Carol Fitzgerald Memorial Fund benie?
“I hope so. He has before,” e-mailed Carol’s widower, Larry Fitzgerald, Sr., the president of the National Programming Network, a radio syndicate based in Minnesota. In a follow-up conversation he added, “If I get word that Adrian is popping in or other celebrities, I’ll let you know.”
I would not put money on a Peterson appearance. That’d be a lot of running this week for the Vikings’ back, who appears to be using Texas as home base during his suspension from the NFL. On Tuesday he was in NYC talking to Commissioner Roger Goodell. The running back had a meeting to convince Goodell that he is sufficiently remorseful about spanking a 4-year-old son brutally enough to be brought up on abuse charges. Goodell also wanted to hear about progress Peterson was making in related areas ahead of his scheduled April 15 reinstatement to the NFL.
The annual event, hosted by Big Fitz’s son and Cardinals player Larry Fitzgerald Jr., sometimes attracts celebrity and pro athlete friends to raise money for urban education related to HIV/AIDS and women with breast cancer. Both were causes near and dear to Carol, who died in 2003. How time has flown since Carol, an angel on earth, was here.
This year’s event will take place at 6 p.m. at the Minneapolis Event Center in St. Anthony Main. There will be “special surprise guests” but I am guessing that unless Peterson shows the biggest celebrity there will be “Minnesota native and 8x Pro Bowler, Larry Fitzgerald, Jr., of the Arizona Cardinals,” as stated in the promo material. Said Big Fitz: “Larry has been adamant with me making certain I am quiet with certain [details]. We also have Ashley DuBose, the big star on ‘The Voice.’ She’s our talent performing and singing.”
For more information: http://cfmemorialfund.eventbrite.com.
Asked if the Vikings should let Peterson go if he doesn’t want to play here, Big Fitz said: “Contracts are two-way streets. It’s business leverage, always, about the guaranteed money. The Vikings cut Greg Jennings, their best receiver, because he refused to take a pay cut. They made Chad Greenway accept $3.5 million to stay and slashed his contract from $7 million! When you say let him go? They can’t cut him: He’s too valuable and he counts on the salary cap. It’s all going to get settled after April 15. Nobody will pay Adrian $14 million guaranteed. That’s what he wants; his Vikings contract is not guaranteed.”
Tark scrambles with eggs
“Think I was elusive on the football field?” tweeted @FranTrakenton “That’s nothing compared to the way I hide #EasterEggs. #HappyEaster.”
Shaq hands it to Schussler
Shaq may lend big-time star power to the opening of Steve Schussler’s newest Orlando restaurant, the Boathouse.
The Minnesota restaurant designer hung with the retired NBAer last week in Florida. “I went to the event for the retiring of his jersey at the Orlando Magic game,” Shussler told me. “I met him on the sideline with David Siegel, who just bought the Orlando Predators arena football team. That’s a big deal. He was telling Shaq about it. When Shaq shook my hand, I was talking about the restaurants I have down there [T Rex, Yak & Yeti, Rainforest Cafe]. Shaq said, Can I come to the opening? and I said, ‘Sure. Can I get a picture with you?’ His HAND was on my shoulder and bigger than my head. He could have taken my head and gripped it like a basketball. I’ve never seen a man that big. Did you see his smile? Did you see Shaq’s smile?”
I have. Shaq’s noted for that sly smile liberally showcased while roasting Justin Bieber on Comedy Central.
“If I didn’t know better, I’d think that was you with a cutout of Shaq,” said Schussler’s PR exec Jean Golden.
“Shaq’s definitely coming to the opening of the Boathouse,” said Schussler, adding its tagline “great food, waterfront dining and dream boats.” By dream boats he means antique mahogany boats, amphicars and Italian Water Taxis.
The Boathouse is scheduled to open in a few weeks with a couple of private parties — one with an expected 400 media members. I’ve asked Schussler to take another photo of his head being grasped like a basketball by Shaq if he shows.
C.J. can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and seen on FOX 9’s “Buzz.”