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Larry Fitzgerald Jr.
*Larry Fitzgerald Jr. was born on this date in 1983. He is a Black retired professional football player in the National Football League (NFL).
Larry Darnell Fitzgerald Jr. was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota the older of two sons of Larry Fitzgerald Sr. and Carol Fitzgerald. He graduated from the Academy of Holy Angels high school and attended the University of Pittsburgh, where he played for the schools' football team. From 2002 to 2003, he was generally considered one of the best wide receivers in college football.
After his sophomore season, Fitzgerald was recognized as the best player in the NCAA with the 2003 Walter Camp Award and the Touchdown Club of Columbus's Chic Harley Award, and as the best wide receiver in college football with the 2003 Biletnikoff Award and the Touchdown Club's Paul Warfield Award. He was also a unanimous 2003 All-America selection and a runner-up for the Heisman Trophy.
In 26 games with the University, Fitzgerald caught 161 passes for 2,677 yards and set a new school record with 34 receiving touchdowns. He was the first player in school history with back-to-back 1,000-yard receiving seasons. He also holds an NCAA record with at least one touchdown catch in 18 straight games. Although Fitzgerald had played at Pitt for only two years without redshirting, he petitioned the NFL to allow him to enter the 2004 NFL Draft because he had left his high school, Academy of Holy Angels, during his senior year to attend Valley Forge Military Academy. The NFL granted an exception to allow Fitzgerald to enter the draft, as he convinced the NFL that the time he spent at the Academy, combined with his time at Pitt, was the minimum of three years removed from high school to make him eligible for the draft.
He was drafted third overall in the 2004 NFL Draft by the Arizona Cardinals, whose then coach, Dennis Green, knew Fitzgerald from his time as a Minnesota Vikings ball boy. In 2004, Fitzgerald had 59 receptions for 780 yards and 8 touchdowns and became the youngest player to record at least 2 touchdown receptions in a single game. In 2005 he led the NFL with 103 receptions for 1,409 yards and 10 touchdowns and was named to his first Pro Bowl.
In 2006, he was injured but still produced 69 receptions for 946 yards and 6 touchdowns. Following the 2007 season, Fitzgerald signed a four-year, $40 million contract extension with Arizona. In 2016, he reached his 100th career touchdown in the season opener against the Patriots. He became just the 10th player to accomplish the feat. He has been selected for the Pro Bowl ten times, and currently ranks third all-time in NFL history in receiving yards per game for a career. Fitzgerald has 2 sons.
Fitzgerald acts out his understanding of intersectionality with many interests that connect many cultures. His relationship with Arizona senator John McCain is but one example. He also supports many community causes. His father established the “Carol Fitzgerald Memorial Fund” in honor of his mother who died of breast cancer in 2003. The organization offers support to causes that Fitzgerald’s mother held deep including educating urban youth about HIV/AIDS and breast cancer issues.
He has served as an NFL spokesman for the league-wide breast cancer awareness initiative “A Crucial Catch” for three years and every October makes donations to breast cancer organizations based on his touchdowns and receptions during the month. In 2016, Fitzgerald signed a one-year, $11 million contract extension with the Cardinals. He also completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Phoenix, fulfilling a promise that he made to his mother to finish his education. Later that year he and Eli Manning received the 2016 Walter Payton Award, which recognizes an NFL player for his excellence on and off the field.