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Fitz Ready For Arians

Posted Mar 10, 2013

Pro Bowl wide receiver anxious to work with coach, find quarterback

Larry Fitzgerald throws a pass during Kurt Warner's flag football tournament Saturday.

Larry Fitzgerald has watched Bruce Arians’ offenses light up Pittsburgh and Indianapolis, and the Cardinals receiver can’t wait for the same thing to happen in Arizona.

Per the NFL’s new collective bargaining agreement signed in 2011, Fitzgerald hasn’t been allowed to talk football with his new head coach. By going off Arians’ history, however, Fitzgerald knows what could be in store.

“His offense has always been tops in the league,” Fitzgerald said in his first public comments about Arians since the coach was hired Jan. 17. “He’s produced great players everywhere he’s gone, from the college level to the professional level. He’s done a terrific job.

“Everywhere he’s been, he’s been successful and that’s something that you all have to be excited about.”

After globetrotting with teammate Andre Roberts, Fitzgerald was back at the Cardinals practice facility Saturday for the Kurt Warner Ultimate Football Experience, a flag football tournament that drew the likes of former Cardinal Anquan Boldin, quarterbacks Joe Flacco of the Ravens, Andy Dalton of the Bengals, Brandon Weeden of the Browns, Packers wide receiver Greg Jennings, and former NFL stars Michael Irvin, Steven Young and Brad Johnson.

On Friday, Fitzgerald said goodbye to long-time teammate and friend Adrian Wilson, who was released by the Cardinals after 12 seasons. That leaves Fitzgerald and defensive lineman Darnell Dockett as the two longest-tenured Cardinals. With free agency beginning Tuesday, the Cardinals spent the last couple of weeks clearing cap space by releasing cornerback William Gay and linebacker Stewart Bradley on March 1 and wide receiver Early Doucet on Saturday.

“It’s just difficult right now losing Adrian, who was one of my closest friends,” Fitzgerald said. “It’s tough. It’s part of the system but it always hurts to see guys you really care about and you love as a brother leave.”

The Cardinals’ top offseason priority is finding a solution at quarterback, a puzzle that started to be solved when the team offered Brian Hoyer a second-round tender this week. Where that leaves Kevin Kolb is yet to be determined, but Fitzgerald isn’t sure what to expect at quarterback next season.

“I think everybody just hopes for a little bit of stability to move forward with somebody that we can ride with for years to come and put the franchise on their back,” Fitzgerald said.

The latest version of the Cardinals won’t be unveiled in part until April, when the team is allowed to convene for the first time under Arians. It’s been tough for Fitzgerald and the rest of the Cardinals to not talk to the coaching stuff under the CBA’s rules, to not learn the new system, the new calls or their potentially new positions.

But knowing the kind of long ball Arians likes to play, Fitzgerald is looking forward to finally digging into the playbook next month.

“Any time you hear that as a receiver, you’re happy when you know you’re going to be a big part of the system and they’re pushing the ball down the field,” Fitzgerald said. “That’s a strength of mine, to be able to go down the field and make plays. I would love to be able to do that.”

 

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