Larry Fitzgerald is the best wide receiver in the NFL, but he wouldn’t be where he is today if he hadn’t followed the advice of his parents. The Fitzgerald family has always been very close, and Sterling and Terri Fitzgerald didn’t want Larry to grow up without a father. That’s why they decided to get him a mentor when the Fitzgeralds moved to Minnesota in 1987.
Many of us know Larry Fitzgerald as one of the best wide receivers to ever play the game, but few people know he was actually inspired by a mentor to do so. In a recent interview, the Cardinals star admitted that he was motivated to play football by advice he received from Vikings legend Chris Doleman.Larry Fitzgerald quickly earned the respect of Arizona Cardinals fans not only for his play on the field, but also for his commitment to excellence. The future Hall of Fame player is considered one of the hardest working players in the NFL and has inspired many receivers to follow in his footsteps with his dedication to his craft.
Ironically, Fitzgerald would not have become one of the greatest announcers in league history without the help of Minnesota Vikings legend Chris Doleman. As it turned out, the fierce defender was helping the parents of the talented pass catcher get their son on track. With Doleman’s ill-fated advice, Fitzgerald was able to amass an incredible amount of capital. And if he decides to quit the game he loves so much, the Cardinals star will likely join Doleman in Canton one day.
Highest career earnings for a WR in history #NFL …
Larry Fitzgerald – $180.7M
Julio Jones – $125.3M
Calvin Johnson – $113.8M
AJ Green – $108M
Andre Johnson – $106M
DeSean Jackson – $86.6M
DeAndre Hopkins – $85.7M
Randy Moss – $82.5M
Steve Smith – $81M
Brandon Marshall – $80.6M
– NFL Stats (@NFL_Stats) March 5, 2021
By becoming the third pick in the 2004 NFL Draft, Fitzgerald was preparing for a big payday. And he used his success in school to sign his first NFL contract.
The former University of Pittsburgh star signed a six-year, $60 million contract, including a $7.5 million signing bonus and more than $20 million guaranteed. Fitzgerald’s rookie contract was even larger than that of Eli Manning, whose original contract was $54 million.
Of course, the Cardinals got more than they paid for.
Fitzgerald quickly gained a reputation as one of the best players in the league. After crossing the 1,400-yard mark in two of his first four seasons, he received a lucrative promotion in the form of a four-year, $40 million contract extension.
The 6-foot-3, 218-pound playmaker answered the call by continuing his strong performance as Arizona’s No. 1 receiver. Fitzgerald consistently shows a high level of play and hit the jackpot in 2011 with an eight-year, $120 million contract, making him one of the highest paid players in the NFL.
Although his days as an elite receiver ended a few years ago, he extended his career into his 30s, thanks in large part to his legendary work ethic. And with total revenues of $180 million, it’s clear that Fitzgerald has excelled as much at the negotiating table as he has on the football field. But he might never have made it to the NFL without the advice his parents received years ago.
Chris Doleman changed the course of the Cardinals star’s life by giving his parents important advice
Dan Honda/Getty Images | Christian Petersen/Getty Image
For someone who is considered by many to be a professional, Fitzgerald certainly didn’t act like one in his pre-NFL days. According to Bob McManaman of Arizona Republic, the big, confident receiver had poor grades, sloppy habits and a bad attitude as a teenager.
Fitzgerald was unable to play college football as a freshman due to academic problems. With their son’s future at stake, Larry Fitzgerald Sr. and his wife Carol took matters into their own hands. But only after he got help from longtime Vikings quarterback Chris Doleman.
In 2012, a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame gave the Minneapolis couple the advice that changed the youngest Fitzgerald’s life forever: Send it to the Valley Forge Military Academy.
I hated it. I mean, I literally hated it every day I was there, Fitzgerald told The Republic. But I wouldn’t be sitting here talking to you today if it weren’t for me. I went as an immature young child, and I left as a man.
More importantly, the member of the NFL’s 100th Anniversary All-Time Team learned some valuable lessons that he will never forget.
The things you learn, the camaraderie, the brotherhood, all those things you learn in the military, those are things that last a lifetime, Fitzgerald said. Like I said, if I hadn’t had that experience, I wouldn’t be sitting here talking to you right now.
Fitzgerald will be the 31st. August 38, so his NFL career is clearly coming to an end. The 11-time Pro Bowlers winner hasn’t made the same impression in recent years, which isn’t surprising given the amount of tread on his tires. Whether he continues to play for the Cardinals or enters a different phase in his life remains a mystery.
With Arizona looking like a team desperate for a Super Bowl this season, with aging versions of J.J. Watt and A.J. Green, Fitzgerald might take one last chance before hanging the pads and helmet around his shoulders for the last time. He can play a limited role in the passing game, be a leader in the locker room and make several million dollars for his efforts.
Once Fitzgerald retires, his Hall of Fame candidacy will start ticking right away. As one of the best receivers of all time, he shouldn’t have to wait long to get arrested in Canton. And when he is officially inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Larry Fitzgerald will join the fraternity that encompasses the legend that changed his life forever.
All contract details are provided by Spotrac.
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