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Larry Fitzgerald: 'A Cut Above the Rest'

Posted Sep 7, 2017

Larry Fitzgerald was just a wide-eyed teenager when he was a ball boy for the Minnesota Vikings.

But the future 10-time Pro Bowl receiver certainly understood the magnitude of who he was around and the environment he was in, especially during Minnesota’s magical 1998 season.

“I was fortunate as a ball boy with the Vikings that I got to see a lot of great players,” Fitzgerald said. “You get to see Randall McDaniel going against John Randle in practice. You’re watching greatness when you see Cris Carter making ridiculous catches and you see Robert Smith and players of that quality every single day.

“You get a bit spoiled,” Fitzgerald noted, “but obviously Randy Moss was a cut above the rest with what he was capable of doing.” 

Fitzgerald is entering his 14th season with the Arizona Cardinals and has established himself as an upper-echelon receiver in league history. The Minnesota native (Fitzgerald was a high school sports star at Academy of Holy Angels in Minneapolis) enters the 2017 season with 1,125 career catches for 14,389 yards with 104 touchdowns.

Fitzgerald got his start with the Vikings as a member of the security team at training camp in Mankato, checking credentials and manning parking lots. And while he eventually moved up to be a ball boy for Minnesota’s equipment staff, Fitzgerald said he rarely asked Moss for tips of the trade as a wide receiver.

“I didn’t really talk to him too much about technique stuff,” Fitzgerald recalled. “A lot of the things that Randy would do are things you can’t teach.

“He was so much more skilled athletically than anybody on the field that he was competing against,” Fitzgerald added.

Instead, Fitzgerald said his memories of Moss are personal, whether it was pickup basketball games in between two-a-day practices in Mankato or the fact that the Vikings star would come watch Fitzgerald’s high school football and basketball games. 

Fitzgerald said there’s a side of Moss that people rarely see or hear about, which is likely the way the Vikings newest member of the Ring of Honor wants it.

Fitzgerald took the time after a recent Cardinals practice to chat about Moss, and the sentiment in his voice was evident.

“To be a kid and seeing your idol take a keen interest in you, it gave me so much confidence as a young person,” Fitzgerald said. “Even to this day, I get emotional thinking about it because it was so special to me.

“That’s what I remember most, more so than the amazing catches and the touchdowns and the receptions,” Fitzgerald added. “All those things are great, but it’s the human element that you remember, especially as a kid. He was so, so generous to me, and that’s why I respect him and love him so much.”

Fitzgerald described two memories that stood out to him the most, the first being that Moss gave him boxes and boxes of shoes since both wear size 14.

But Fitzgerald laughed when he talked about his senior prom, when he rolled up in a Blue BMW 7 Series.

It was the coolest ride around, mainly because the car belonged to Moss. The Vikings receiver’s loaner added to one of Fitzgerald’s favorite high school memories.

“It didn’t matter if it was a beat-up hooptie,” Fitzgerald said. “It was Randy Moss’ car, and that’s what made it so special.”