Patrick Peterson was lamenting the missed opportunity he'll have Sunday when the Giants come to town but top receiver Odell Beckham – who is injured – will not play.
The Cardinals' Pro Bowl cornerback relishes playing against the best wideouts, and that includes practice – and going up against Larry Fitzgerald.
On Thursday, Peterson recounted the first time he faced Fitz, at training camp in 2011 when Peterson was still wearing uniform No. 31 and he had just signed his contract.
"My first rep was with Fitz and he one-hand Mossed me in the back of the end zone," Peterson said, noting that Fitzgerald got a picture of the play and signed it for Peterson, a photo that hangs in Peterson's house.
Fitzgerald was asked who he'd call the best cornerback he ever faced, and he said Peterson – not a surprise, given that they share a locker room. Fitzgerald didn't waste time trash-talking either.
"I've tossed him around like a rag doll," Fitzgerald said with a smile. "I can't wait until his daughter is old enough so I can tell her, 'Uncle Fitz used to dominate your dad. I know he's talked about all these great guys and he's one of those great guys, but he never had to go up against me, though.'
"I tried to embarrass him out there (when Peterson first arrived). Now, it might be a little more evenly matched now. Early on, I used to have a lot of fun beating up on him."
Peterson said he improved as a cornerback and a player because Fitzgerald both pushed him on the field and showed him how to be an NFL player off the field. The two stars had a bond since day one, when Fitzgerald picked Peterson up at the airport after Peterson was drafted.
"It was a bond that was created without even knowing each other. It was instant … it was almost like love at first sight," Peterson said, laughing.
PETERSON'S MISSED CHANCE AT BECKHAM
Peterson was trading texts with Beckham before and after his interview session Thursday, as the two LSU products talked about what might have been if Beckham was healthy enough to play.
Peterson had been excited for the game ever since he knew the Giants were on the schedule.
"This was a big ticket for me this week," Peterson said. "I was definitely looking forward to this matchup, being an LSU Tiger. He's still the only one I haven't guarded yet, as far as a top-tier receiver. I was looking forward to this game. Odell, he's special, man."
It isn't just that Beckham is a friend and fellow LSU Tiger. Peterson craves the high-level matchup every time he can get it.
"That's why I play the game," Peterson said. "I believe that's the only way to leave your mark, to guard the best each and every down. That's why I play the game, to get my opponent's best shot."
NKEMDICHE BACK AT PRACTICE, BUT MANY DNPs REMAINED
The Cardinals injury list shrunk somewhat Thursday but it remains a source of concern, with a DNP list that was still lengthy. Sitting out were safety Antoine Bethea (knee), linebacker Josh Bynes (ankle), linebacker Karlos Dansby (knee), tight end Troy Niklas (ankle), defensive lineman Olsen Pierre (illness), guard Earl Watford (ankle), and running back Kerwynn Williams (quad/ribs).
Linebacker Gabe Martin (hamstring), defensive lineman Robert Nkemdiche (wrist), wide receiver Chad Williams (illness), wide receiver John Brown (toe), tight end Jermaine Gresham (illness), defensive lineman Corey Peters (ankle) and tackle John Wetzel (knee) were all limited.
For the Giants, safety Landon Collins (ankle), linebacker B.J. Goodson (ankle), wide receiver Tavarres King (concussion) and defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (finger) did not practice. Limited were safety Nat Berhe (hamstring), cornerback Brandon Dixon (heel/hamstring), tackle Erick Flowers (groin) and defensive end Olivier Vernon (not injury-related).
Images of past matchups between the Cardinals and this week's opponent, the New York Giants