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Larry Fitzgerald Leadership After WR Comments

Posted Aug 22, 2017

Notes: Fitz talks about Boldin relationship; Iupati out with triceps injury

Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald congratulates fellow wideout Jaron Brown after a touchdown catch in practice Monday.

The day after Bruce Arians called out the vast majority of the wide receiver corps, Larry Fitzgerald was scheduled to take an off day.

He practiced. He needed to, in order to be the leader of the maligned-in-that-moment crew. Arians had specifically said Fitzgerald was not one of those he was talking about – but as Fitzgerald saw it, “he is talking to me, though.”

“He’s talking to everybody in that room,” Fitzgerald said, speaking for the first time since Arians’ comments. “If I’m the leader in that room, that’s a shot at me, that’s a shot at everyone in that room. It doesn’t matter he didn’t mention me by name. It still affects me. Jaron (Brown), Smoke (Brown), J.J. (Nelson), all those guys, those are my little brothers. I’m with them every day. I know their families intimately.”

Arians was happier with the group as the week went on. He had mentioned Fitzgerald and Jaron Brown as doing well. John Brown has returned to practice and looked good Monday (he’ll miss the rest of the week because of a funeral), and all the wideouts who had been hurt are back.

Fitzgerald often is encouraging fellow receivers – loudly – during plays he is not in, and he emphasized the wide receivers room has a strong bond.

“It bothers me that was said, and I know (the other receivers) all feel the same way,” Fitzgerald said. “Obviously, they wouldn’t say it, but you take that personal. You are professional; you want to be the best you possibly can be. This is your occupation, so you don’t take that lightly.”

FITZGERALD’S ANQUAN THOUGHTS

Fitzgerald played with Anquan Boldin for six seasons, from Fitzgerald’s rookie year of 2004 through 2009. The two became friends – Fitzgerald said Boldin, almost three years older, is like a big brother to him – and Fitzgerald said he just hopes Boldin is happy now that he has retired.

“My rookie year, inviting me to his house every Monday night to watch football, those memories are things I will always remember,” Fitzgerald said. “I remember seeing him on the ground against the Jets, (then) being back and playing in 14 days. Those are the things you never forget him as a player.

“Off the field, in Ethiopia or Senegal, all around the country, doing things that are positive and always inviting me to be part of it. I’m just happy to be around him for as long as I was able to, and to be able to call him a friend.”

Not surprisingly, Fitzgerald said he thinks Boldin should be in the Hall of Fame.

“Every place he’s gone I feel he’s been the best receiver on that team,” Fitzgerald said. “He’s led by example off the field.”

IUPATI INJURED, STATUS TBA

Starting left guard Mike Iupati hurt his right triceps in practice Monday and is will be out “a few days,” Arians said. John Wetzel, who is the top backup tackle and was with the first-string at left tackle when D.J. Humphries was recently sidelined, will fill in for Iupati with the starters.

[READ: NKEMDICHE LEAVES PRACTICE]

Linebacker Jarvis Jones (back) and defensive tackle Ed Stinson (hamstring), quarterback Carson Palmer and linebacker Karlos Dansby (rest days) are the other players sitting out. Linebacker Deone Bucannon (ankle) isn’t practicing either, although he was brought off the PUP list. 

Defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche exited practice with some sort of leg injury.

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