By: Will Burchfield
Larry Fitzgerald, entering his 14th NFL season, will do whatever it takes to stay on the field — even if it means offering to pay an opponent’s fine.
Lions safety Glover Quin said on Wednesday that Fitzgerald often tells opposing defensive backs to hit him above the waist rather than below, with the proposition that he’ll cover whatever fine the player might incur from the NFL.
“He’ll tell you on the field, ‘Hey bro, I’ll pay your fine for you. Don’t hit me in the legs.’ He’d rather you hit him up high,” said Quin.
Apparently it’s not just Quin who’s heard this from Fitzgerald.
“He’ll say it all the time. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only DB, you can ask anybody. He’ll tell you, ‘Hey man, don’t take my knees out,” Quin said.
Quin clarified that Fitzgerald isn’t asking defensive backs to take it easy on him, only to avoid hitting him in a way that could cause serious long-term damage.
“Now, as a DB, you’re going to take the lower hit because this hit right here,” said Quin, pointing toward his head, “is going to get you a fine. But he’ll tell you, ‘Hey, I’ll pay your fine for you.'”
Asked if he’s ever known Fitzgerald to follow through on his offer, Quin shook his head and said, “I don’t know about all that stuff.”
Fitzgerald, whose Cardinals visit the Lions on Sunday, is known to be a frequent talker on the field, though not in a combative way. He prefers to ask opposing cornerbacks about their families, and sometimes offers them advice after catching a pass on a well-run route.
“From a guy like Fitzgerald, you take it and you accept it. It’s not like he’s talking noise before the fact. He’s telling you, ‘On this right here, I gave you this and you bit. That’s how I got you.’ You’re taking that from a Hall of Famer. He’s not out there to be your friend, but he’s a friendly guy,” said Quin.
This stands in contrast to former Lions receiver Anquan Boldin, who was anything but friendly on the field of play.
“(Fitzgerald) seems a little nicer than Anquan. He’s not out there trying to be your friend, but Anquan wasn’t trying to talk to you or be nice at all,” Quin said. “You’ll see Fitzgerald on film help you up.”
Of course, this isn’t something that Quin always appreciates.
“I kind of look at that as a shot at me. Like, you tackled me but you’re going to help me up — nah, don’t help me up. Know what I’m saying?” Quin said with a laugh. “But I’ve played against Fitz a few times and he’s cool. Every time we play we talk. I don’t know him super personally off the field, but it’s one of those respect things.”
Quin and Fitzgerald have defied NFL logic over the course of their respective careers. Quin has made 116 consecutive starts dating back to 2009, the longest streak among active safeties, while Fitzgerald has missed just six games in 13 seasons.