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Fitzgerald Thinking Pink

After mother's death, receiver becomes 'Crucial Catch' spokesman


Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald will wear pink wristbands, among other items, against Houston Sunday to promote breast cancer awareness.
Back when he was drafted by the Cardinals, Larry Fitzgerald was still dealing with the loss of his mother, who had died a little more than a year previous, calling the time ?an emotional roller coaster.?

More than six years have passed since Carol Fitzgerald succumbed to her fight with breast cancer, and her son has become many of the things for which the Fitzgerald family had once dreamed: A wealthy pro athlete, considered by most as one of the best players in the NFL.

That doesn?t necessarily make it easy for Fitzgerald to recount his mother?s death. But that?s the commitment Fitzgerald made when becoming the national spokesman for the NFL?s campaign for breast cancer awareness.

?I look at it as a double-edged sword,? Fitzgerald said, acknowledging the difficulty sometimes of talking about his mother?s passing. ?If, with me having a platform and people listening, maybe it gets someone?s mother tested or someone? sister, and maybe it saves a loved one?s life.
?Unfortunately I wasn?t able to do that with my mom, but if I can do that with someone else, I feel my job is being done.?

The NFL?s initiative to push women to be screened is cleverly titled ?A Crucial Catch,? and who better to pitch such a program than a Pro Bowl wide receiver? The NFL, as seen Sunday during the Cardinals? bye weekend, already unveiled many pink parts of the game. Selected players wore pink wristbands, pink-and-white shoes, pink gloves and pink towels, and that will include Cardinals against Houston Sunday.

The plan is for linebacker Bertrand Berry and running back Tim Hightower to wear the shoes, with wide receiver Anquan Boldin and cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie with the gloves. All six captains ? Fitzgerald, quarterback Kurt Warner, wide receiver Sean Morey, linebacker Karlos Dansby, safety Adrian Wilson and defensive tackle Darnell Dockett ? will wear special pink captain?s patches.
Some Cardinals' cheerleaders are taking part in the "Race for the Cure" event Sunday morning. And Fitzgerald, who will also be wearing the gear, also put out on his Twitter account Tuesday that he?d like to see all the fans wear pink for the game.

?I think the NFL has done a tremendous job raising awareness with the way they have done it,? Fitzgerald said. ?We have seen it in Major League Baseball with the pink bats and the pink batting gloves. It got a lot of publicity on ESPN, and anytime you can get a lot of publicity out there and get ladies in for early detection, I think it?s good.?

Dockett said he?s happy to help a teammate and be part of the campaign, although he said he?d like to see the NFL take up other causes as well, such as ?Stop The Violence.? ?They should have a (sticker of a) gun with an ?X? through it on the back of the helmets, all the people getting shot and killed,? Dockett said.

For now though, the NFL will stick with pink.
Morey, who has already has proven he'll take part in worthwhile issues, lost his grandmother to breast cancer many years ago.

?I think there are a lot of people affected by it,? Morey said. ?I think the more you can do to support, the better off we all are.?


Boldin needs five catches Sunday to move past Roy Green into second place on the franchise?s all-time receptions list. Boldin has 518; former fullback Larry Centers is the all-time leader with 535 catches.

Warner needs 47 yards passing to reach 13,000 as a Cardinal; He?ll become only the second player in NFL history to have that many passing yards with two different teams after he already did so with the Rams. The other QB? Fran Tarkenton, who accomplished the feat for the Vikings and Giants.

The Cardinals have sold out all 36 games played at University of Phoenix Stadium, including preseason tilts, since University of Phoenix Stadium opened in 2006. Tickets remain for Sunday?s Texans? game, with the blackout deadline Thursday afternoon.


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