Fitz please don't LeBron us
Published: August 18, 2011 @ 2:30pm
I trust Larry Fitzgerald.
By no means do I know the man on a personal level nor have I hung out with him, but I trust him. Most of it is based on his public persona. The way he comes off in interviews and the charity work he does make myself and most fans feel comfortable with him.
Thanks to my job I've had the opportunity to interview him at various events. In all of my interactions with him he's been nothing but fantastic. We've even spent time joking about my weight and talking about the perennial Pro Bowler's son.
By all accounts, we can take him at face value and believe what he has to say.
In most walks of life we'd have no reason to question the sincerity of his words. The unfortunate fact though is we are sports fans and Arizona sports fans at that. We've been conditioned to hear someone tell us one thing, only to watch the exact opposite play out.
Remember Buddy Ryan's introductory ‘You've got a winner in town' speech? Unless I have the wrong definition of winning, a 12-20 record means he didn't live up to his promise.
How about when Dennis Green called Matt Leinart a ‘gift from heaven' on draft day in 2006? Unless God was giving out white elephant gifts that afternoon, Green's words certainly didn't ring true.
Shaq also sold us -- and Boston and Cleveland fans -- on the idea that he'd bring a championship to town. We're still waiting for our parade.
While the local teams have provided many great examples, possibly the best example of a sports figure saying one thing, only to do the other, came from the King.
LeBron James said all the right things about staying with the franchise that drafted him. That was up until he decided to ‘take his talents to South Beach.'
Take this quote from 2006 as an example.
"It's also important to me to make the team I'm on now the best," LeBron told ESPN the Magazine. "I don't want to go ring-chasing, as I call it; you know, going to a team that's already pretty established and trying to win a ring with them. I want to stay with the Cavs and build a champion. And I feel like we're on our way."
Or this example from 2009.
"Trevor asked LeBron if he would be in Cleveland after next season," the source told ESPN. "And LeBron said, 'I'll be there. Of course, I'll be there.'"
We all know that Fitz isn't the type of guy to make a decision via a huge nationally televised circus, but is he above ‘taking his talents to the Twin Cities' despite stating the opposite?
It's no secret that Fitzgerald is from Minnesota and that his father thinks he's a Viking at heart. In the end is being drafted and treated well by a franchise enough to kill a desire to go home again and play for the team he was a ball boy for?
Fitzgerald has reportedly set a self-imposed September 4 deadline to get a contract extension done with the Cardinals. If the two sides don't reach an agreement he'll likely hit the open market and his hometown team will get the chance to ‘make him an offer he can't refuse.'
The Cardinals have said they're willing to make him the highest paid player in franchise history and Fitzgerald has said he wants to be here. It should be an easy process. But if September 4 rolls around without an announcement being made, this season could turn into a farewell tour rather than a return to the top of the NFC West.
Like I said, I trust Larry Fitzgerald and his word. I just hope he doesn't burn Cardinals fans and the franchise the way LeBron burned the fans and the Cavaliers in Cleveland that trusted his word and believed in him. As we've seen, losing the face of the franchise does nothing but hurt the city and the team.