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Legendary WR Larry Fitzgerald Pens His Ode to Pitt Football

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Pitt legend Larry Fitzgerald.

Larry Fitzgerald is largely known as an Arizona Cardinal. It makes sense. Fitzgerald is one of the best wide receivers in NFL history, and he famously spent his entire career in the desert.

But Fitzgerald received his start in Pittsburgh. He grew up a Minnesota Vikings fan in Minnesota, but after he was unable to enroll in college due to NCAA requirements following his senior year of high school, he took a prep year in Pennsylvania. It led to two highly successful seasons at Pitt. He grew into a star.

College football is such a different game as it was when Fitzgerald was rising through the ranks two decades ago. The transfer portal and NIL opportunities may reign supreme now, but Fitzgerald, upon reflecting on his legendary career, felt confident in saying that his time at Pitt was life-changing.

“I’ve seen a few young athletes announce their college commitment decisions recently, and I can’t help but reflect on making that decision on my own all those years ago,” Fitzgerald wrote on Instagram.

“Choosing to attend (Pitt) and continue my athletic career there was one of the most formative decisions I could ever make. My experience at Pitt allowed me to grow into the young man I wanted to be, challenge myself both academically and athletically, and make lifelong connections and memories I’ll never forget. I remember the first time I stepped onto the field, I knew it was where I was meant to be. From the coaches, the players, and the administration to the city and my church family at Mt Ararat, everything felt like a new home away from home.

“For any young student-athletes out there making a college decision right now: trust your instincts, do your research and find a place that feels like home and doesn’t make you feel like you are just another spoke on a wheel, where you can grow and develop as a person and an athlete. If you do all of that, it’ll be all worth it in the end.”

“Larry means the world,” Narduzzi told WPXI last September. “He’s actually gonna be our honorary captain, so I guess I’m announcing that to the world right now here with you guys. But we read off what he’s done, and you talk about the, I think it was over 1,400 catches and 17,000 yards, 121 TDs in the NFL. It’s just like, ‘Wow.’

“He’s an amazing football player, an amazing person and we’re excited to have him back.”

Fitzgerald only spent two seasons at Pitt, but he made an impact that cannot — and will not — be forgotten any time soon. And that impact has continued to this day.

In those two seasons at Pitt from 2002-03, he recorded 161 receptions for 2,677 yards and 34 touchdowns. His sophomore campaign (92 receptions for 1,672 yards and 22 touchdowns) earned him Heisman runner-up honors.

Fitzgerald was perhaps the best player in college football in the 2003 season as he won the Biletnikoff Award, the Walter Camp Award, the Big East Offensive Player of the Year honor and was named a unanimous All-American. And there’s a legitimate argument to be made that he should’ve won the Heisman Trophy, too.

His dominance carried over to the NFL after being selected with the third pick in the 2004 NFL Draft by the Arizona Cardinals. Despite a career in which he played with a revolving door of quarterbacks, Fitzgerald will go down as one of the greatest wide receivers in NFL history.

In 17 seasons, all with the Cardinals, he recorded 1,432 receptions (second all-time) for 17,492 yards (second all-time) and 121 touchdowns (sixth all-time). And he added 57 receptions for 942 yards and 10 touchdowns in the postseason — including one of the greatest individual postseasons in 2008.

Fitzgerald, along with fellow Pitt legends Matt Cavanaugh, Ruben Brown and Chris Doleman, was inducted into the Pitt Athletics Hall of Fame last fall, and his next stop will be the Pro Football Hall of Fame when he’s eligible.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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Dixon
Dixon
1 month ago

“And there’s a legitimate argument to be made that he should’ve won the Heisman Trophy”…looking at you Cook and Smizik!!!

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