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Larry Fitzgerald, Adrian Peterson Reunite

Posted Oct 12, 2017

Notes: Friendship predates NFL: Evan Boehm may lose starting job; Peterson limited

Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (left) and running back Adrian Peterson walk to practice together on Thursday.

Larry Fitzgerald smiled and asked for someone to grab the phone from his locker.

It’s no secret the Cardinals’ wide receiver is close friends with new teammate Adrian Peterson, but to illustrate how long their relationship dated back, Fitzgerald wanted the physical evidence.

Fitzgerald thumbed through text messages on Thursday before finding what he sought: a photo of his 20-year-old self, standing alongside a 17-year-old Peterson at a Touchdown Club of Columbus awards banquet. Two youngsters then, decked out in suits and ties, before either took the NFL by storm.

“He was the high school player of the year that year and I was the college player of the year,” Fitzgerald said. “This was in 2003. We were young. He just sent me that one. This is where I first met him. We’ve stayed in touch and been cool ever since.”

While it seems like the whole Cardinals team has gotten a lift from the arrival of Peterson, no one is happier than Fitzgerald. He opened up his guest house to the future Hall of Fame running back, and gave Peterson permission to join him at any time in the main abode.

“He doesn’t have to sneak,” Fitzgerald said. “He has keys. He can come and go as he pleases.”

Peterson is excited about the move to Arizona after he was stuck playing third fiddle in a crowded Saints backfield, and appreciates having someone to lean on during the hectic move.

“He’s a good friend of mine,” Peterson said. “We’re basically like family. It feels good to be here as a Cardinal and to have some friends that I’m close with as well, to make the transition a lot smoother.”

On Thursday, Fitzgerald couldn’t help but think back wistfully to a decade ago, just four years after that photo was taken. Peterson dominated college football at Oklahoma, and some thought the Cardinals could take him with the No. 5 overall pick in the 2007 draft. They instead chose offensive tackle Levi Brown, who never lived up to his draft status, and Peterson went to the Vikings two picks later.  

“We’d probably have a championship if we got him then,” Fitzgerald said. “No knock on Levi. He was a great teammate over the years. But (Adrian) has scored 100-plus touchdown in nine, 10 seasons. You can’t argue with that productivity. NFL MVP. He’s been fun to watch from a distance. It’s always been kind of sour to know we could have had him. But that goes for six other teams, too, that passed on him.”

CARDINALS COULD MAKE A CHANGE AT RIGHT GUARD

Depending on injuries, right guard Evan Boehm could be demoted on Sunday after starting the first five games. Earl Watford or John Wetzel would be options at Boehm’s spot if they aren’t needed elsewhere.

There are still several moving parts, as right tackle Jared Veldheer (knee), left tackle D.J. Humphries (knee) and left guard Alex Boone (chest) were all limited participants in practice on Thursday.

“Boehm’s coming along, but he’s still a work in progress,” offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin said. “We’ve got to remember, we can’t murder this guy, try not to murder him. He’s a guy that played center and we forced him into playing guard. He’s done a decent job at times, but it’s not consistent enough. It’s showed in our play up front, so we’ll go with whatever the best option is.”

PATRICK PETERSON LIMITED AGAIN

Cornerback Patrick Peterson (quad) joined the three offensive line starters and many other Cardinals who were limited Thursday. The others were wide receiver John Brown (quad), linebacker Karlos Dansby (hamstring), wide receiver J.J. Nelson (hamstring), defensive lineman Josh Mauro (elbow), defensive lineman Robert Nkemdiche (calf), defensive lineman Xavier Williams (shoulder), and linebacker Josh Bynes (hamstring).

Defensive lineman Olsen Pierre (ankle) didn’t practice for a second straight day and isn’t expected to play.

For the Buccaneers, defensive end Ryan Russell (shoulder) did not practice. Those limited for Tampa Bay were linebacker Kwon Alexander (hamstring), linebacker Lavonte David (ankle), defensive end Robert Ayers (back), center Ali Marpet (illness), safety T.J. Ward (hip) and safety Keith Tandy (hip).

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