Cris Carter is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Randy Moss will be there soon. But what about their old ball boy with the Vikings?
Does he allow himself time to think about that possibility at the young, but advanced NFL age of 32?
“No,” said Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald Jr., the former Holy Angels standout. “I think it would be a much better discussion if I’m able to put a deep playoff run and a possible Super Bowl championship into the equation. I think at this point in my career, you don’t really play for the personal accolades.”
With 91 catches for 1,047 yards and seven touchdowns this season, Fitzgerald is climbing the NFL’s career receiving charts while helping MVP candidate Carson Palmer pace the NFL in yards (419.5) and points (31.8) per game.
Heading into Thursday night’s game against the visiting Vikings, Fitzgerald is tied with Hines Ward for 10th in career receptions with 1,000. He’s the youngest player to reach 1,000 catches by more than a year.
Fitzgerald also is one of only 10 players with at least 13,000 yards (13,198) and 90 touchdowns (96). Carter and Moss also are on that list.
The 96 regular-season touchdowns also rank 11th. Five of the 10 players ahead of him are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, four aren’t eligible yet and one (Marvin Harrison) is in his second year of eligibility.
“When you come into the league, it’s, ‘Does he have the ability to live up to the potential?’ ” Fitzgerald said. “And then once you start playing well and you get to a second contract and a couple of Pro Bowls, they say, ‘Is he going to stay hungry?’ … And then as you get older it’s, ‘Can he still play?’ … So at every point of your career, you’re always fighting some type of battle. You’re fighting somebody’s perception of what you can do and what you can’t do. I just love that challenge in every aspect.”
Fitzgerald has a big fan in Vikings coach Mike Zimmer.
“He’s outstanding, he really is,” Zimmer said. “And for a guy, the class of person that he is, he does a lot of dirty work, he blocks an awful lot, he blocks big guys, safeties, whoever, he’ll block them.
“He doesn’t complain when he gets a pass interference or somebody holds him or something like that. Obviously he’s got great hands, runs great routes and he doesn’t try to be the center of the game. He tries to be a professional receiver and I have a lot of respect for him. He was raised right. He’s phenomenal.”