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For Larry Fitzgerald, A Big Record Could Be His In Kansas City

Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, here catching a touchdown against the 49ers in the Cardinals' most recent game, needs 33 yards against the Chiefs to move into second all-time in NFL history.
Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, here catching a touchdown against the 49ers in the Cardinals' most recent game, needs 33 yards against the Chiefs to move into second all-time in NFL history.

After his season-highs in catches (eight) and yards (102) in his last game against the 49ers, Larry Fitzgerald chided his son for choosing to attend the state fair instead of coming to the Cardinals’ game to watch Dad.

“It didn’t have the effect I thought it would have,” Fitzgerald said Thursday. “He was actually pretty emotional about it. I felt pretty bad after, so I want to apologize to him for putting him in that position. We worked past our differences as a family. He’ll be there for me when we play the Raiders next week.”

First though, the Cards will go to Kansas City this week, and alas, Fitzgerald’s kids won’t have a chance to – potentially – see Fitzgerald get the 33 receiving yards he needs to supplant Terrell Owens for the second-most in NFL history, behind Jerry Rice.

“Honestly, I don’t really look at it,” Fitzgerald said. “Honestly.”

Are you buying that, coach Steve Wilks?

“Yes and no,” Wilks said. “I think he is about the team, and I think he wants to see the team have success. But, he is a competitor, and he is a first-ballot Hall of Famer for that mere reason. So, I think they’re both important to him.”

It remains to been seen if the 49ers game was a one-off or if the change to Byron Leftwich as offensive coordinator will make that significant of a difference the rest of the season. Fitzgerald said he is feeling better physically after hamstring issues earlier in the season, and that rookie quarterback Josh Rosen has become more comfortable after a handful of starts. The up-tempo offense also helps Rosen, Fitzgerald said.

Fitzgerald and Leftwich also have developed a trust over the past couple of years, which will help.

“It’s no wonder he’ll have a gold jacket waiting on him when his time comes,” Leftwich said.

While Fitzgerald shrugs off records, he acknowledged he does have one of which he is most proud – the 546 yards in a single playoff year he got in 2008.

“Every player wants to be at their best in the biggest moments,” Fitzgerald said. “My numbers in the playoffs say I’m a guy who steps up in the bigger moments.”

ARIANS’ REUNION WITH THE CARDINALS

Bruce Arians and the Cardinals will be back together this weekend – at least briefly.

The team’s former coach, who retired in January, is part of the CBS crew broadcasting the game. Arians will be joined by Greg Gumbel and former Chiefs quarterback Trent Green in the booth. Arians will get the chance to interview a handful of his former players and coaches during production meetings before the game, including Fitzgerald.

“I talk to him at least once a week,” Fitzgerald said. “Obviously when you have done what we did here, 50 wins in five years, he developed strong relationships with guys. He was great to work for.”

Leftwich, who reiterated the only reason he coaches is because Arians got him into it, said Arians texted him as soon as Arians knew he had the assignment.

“We talk all the time,” Leftwich said. “It’ll be good to see him, give him a hug.”

 What kinds of things has Arians told Leftwich?

“Can’t say it on TV,” Leftwich said with a smile. “He hasn’t changed from that standpoint.”

BAKER SHOWS UP ON INJURY REPORT, AND NKEMDICHE ALSO SITS

Safety Budda Baker did not practice Thursday because of a foot injury, a new issue that could impact the Cardinals Sunday as they try to deal with arguably the most explosive offense in the NFL. Defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche (calf) was downgraded to a DNP Thursday as well, while wide receiver Chad Williams (ankle) remained sidelined.

Limited were safety Tre Boston (chest), tight end Jermaine Gresham (back), guard Mike Iupati (back), guard Jeremy Vujnovich (hamstring), guard Justin Pugh (hand) and defensive tackle Corey Peters (ankle).

For the Chiefs, safety Eric Berry (heel), guard Cam Erving (illness), linebacker Anthony Hitchens (rib), center Mitch Morse (concussion) and wide receiver Sammy Watkins (foot) didn’t practice. Linebacker Justin Houston (hamstring), safety Daniel Sorensen (knee) and linebacker Frank Zombo (hamstring) were limited.

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