With smoke machines belching in the background, Larry Fitzgerald films part of his "Monday Night Football" sequence for ESPN cameras.
The producer asked Larry Fitzgerald to mug a little bit for the camera, and Fitzgerald hesitated at first. It wasn't him, but he played along anyway.
When the Cardinals' Pro Bowl wide receiver was given a script of a monologue later, however, Fitz flinched at some of the copy he was seeing for the first time – "I shatter egos" was one potential line – and asked for a rewrite.
It was a Tuesday, and a few weeks out from the Cardinals' "Monday Night
Football" game against the 49ers, ESPN came to town to shoot a piece on Fitzgerald to run during the pregame show. The crew rented out the gym at an Ahwatukee YMCA (just a short distance from Fitz's house) for a segment called "Silent but lethal."
Emerging from a closet with smoke machines was OK. After a minute, so was making faces for the camera. But the script had to change. Fitz wanted to avoid saying things he simply wouldn't normally.
"Not many people know me," Fitzgerald said. "People watch TV around the country and I don't want to be perceived as an arrogant guy. That's not my demeanor, that's not how I play. I have a respect for my opponents. I just do my job."
He's doing it well, of course. With 43 receptions for 661 yards and five touchdowns, Fitzgerald is headed toward a second straight Pro Bowl appearance. He is now being mentioned often as arguably the best wide receiver in the game, an impressive leap considering he just signed his new contract this offseason that will pay him $40 million over four years.