The lockout has put a halt to more in the NFL than a pileup on the I-10 does to people's drive home. No free agency, no trades, and no team workouts. That doesn't mean Arizona Cardinals Pro Bowl receiver Larry Fitzgerald isn't still all business despite none of it getting done around the league.
While some players around the league have been less shy than Rep. Anthony Weiner on the Internet about lounging around during the lockout, Fitzgerald has spent his down time trying to perfect his already impressive game.
"I'm just working hard," he told ArizonaSports.com in an exclusive interview. "That's something that never changes for me. I always try to stay on top of my body and make sure I'm ready. If they called us back to work two months ago I'd have been ready. If they called us today I'd be ready. If they call us back in two months I'll be ready. It doesn't matter. I'm always going to stay on top of it. It's just part of my job and part of the requirement."
Fitz may be ready to go but the team certainly isn't. Thanks to the labor dispute the draft has been the only method of obtaining new talent that teams have been able to engage in. Because the draft wasn't 40 rounds long, the Cards' roster is still a work in progress.
Despite the fact that Fitz received passes from more guys (5) than an attractive woman at a Scottsdale club last season, Fitz isn't overly concerned. He trusts the team's front office and just wants to get back to what has made him famous: making top flight cornerbacks look like UFL benchwarmers.
"Obviously we have some issues we need to address, I'm not going to say what positions, but we need to improve," he said. "I think we made some good steps in the draft this year. I know we're going to do the same thing once we're allowed to get in free agency and sign free agents. I'm just looking forward to this lockout being over so we can get moving and address the needs on our team and get out on the field and play."
The lockout is bothersome to Fitz, but not knowing who he'll take the field with in 2011 is like watching a Wes Craven horror film ... unsettling.
"Who's going to be my teammates, that's more worrisome for me," he said. "I'm not so concerned about when it gets started or anything like that. I just want to make sure we have a good feel. When we go out there and play I want to make sure the product we're putting on the field is something we can go out there and win with and get back to the playoffs. That's really my one and only concern."
Although Fitzgerald's focus is on winning in 2011, fans focus has been on what he'll be wearing in the future. That is, what uniform he'll be wearing come 2012.
Like his catches during the final drive of the 2009 NFC Championship game helped put away the Eagles, his comments Tuesday should put fans fears to rest.
"I don't want to go anywhere," he said with conviction. "I believe that coach Whisenhunt is the right man for the job and I want to play for him. I enjoy working for Michael Bidwill and his family. I don't want to go anywhere."
Fitzgerald is working hard and wants to stay in Arizona. When the lockout is lifted, it will be the Cardinals' turn to get down to business and make sure he doesn't change his mind.