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No Rest For Fitzgerald


 Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, who scored this touchdown in Sunday's Pro Bowl, returned to work quickly back in Arizona.

Sunday afternoon, Larry Fitzgerald was catching a touchdown pass at the Pro Bowl in Hawaii.

Monday afternoon, he was back at the Cardinals' facility – coming over straight from the airport after flying home – to visit with coaches while declaring himself ready to work again.

"I was talking to T.O. (Terrell Owens) and Donald Driver and Torry Holt and they said they were going to take the rest of this month off," Fitzgerald said of his fellow NFC Pro Bowl receivers. "So this is my time to try to get a jump on the other elite guys. This is my opportunity to close that gap."

Fitzgerald said he was actually intending to begin a workout regiment Monday night.

Fitzgerald doesn't have a restructured contract yet and has consistently deferred to his agent, Eugene Parker, when it comes to money matters.

But general manager Rod Graves reiterated Tuesday morning he is "cautiously optimistic" the two sides can finalize an agreement before free agency starts at the end of the month. Fitzgerald's deal needs to be redone, as he is scheduled to carry a salary cap number of more than $16 million for 2008.

Repeatedly, Fitzgerald has said he wants to be in Arizona and did again in Hawaii. Meanwhile, he brought along Cardinals wide receivers coach Mike Miller on the trip as a thank you to the season and used his days in Honolulu – in part – as a reconnaissance mission.

"I got out to the beach, got a chance to reflect on some of the good, some of the bad," Fitzgerald said. "I also talked to guys like (Giants defensive end) Osi Umenyiora, asking him about some of the things they did to be successful.

"You get to be around guys who have had success and talk to them about team chemistry and their philosophies about how they are winning and why they are winning. You get a lot of different perspectives."

There were a handful of Cardinals taking in NFL festivities in Hawaii. Not only did defensive tackle Darnell Dockett play in the game, but defensive teammates Antonio Smith, Calvin Pace and Karlos Dansby all joined Dockett. Meanwhile, safety Aaron Francisco – who is from Hawaii -- took part in an autograph session at one point.

Fitzgerald said he wasn't as nervous for his second Pro Bowl, given that he understood the schedule and the demands better than when he first made the all-star game in 2006.

"It's always great to be around some of the elite peers in your business," Fitzgerald said. "It was a phenomenal week."

Contact Darren Urban at Posted 2/12/08.

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