Fitzgerald Sr. on son’s relationship with Peterson: ‘He’s family’
Within half an hour of ESPN’s Dianna Russini reporting that the Cardinals had traded for Saints running back Adrian Peterson on Tuesday, Arizona receiver Larry Fitzgerald posted a dancing child to his Twitter feed accompanied by the caption “#mymood this morning!”
A native Minnesotan, Fitzgerald has grown close to the seven-time Pro Bowl back.
His father, Twin Cities sports writer Larry Fitzgerald Sr., knows their relationship better than most.
He raised Fitzgerald, a former Vikings ball boy, in Minnesota. He also covered Peterson’s first nine NFL seasons with the Vikings.
“They’re good friends. He’s family,” Fitzgerald Sr. told The Blitz with B-Train & Jurecki on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station. “During the summer or at least with Labor Day, with (Peterson) being with Minnesota, Larry would get a few days off before the beginning of the season, we’d always go to the state fair together. It would be quite the scene to see security trying to keep people off those two guys going through the Minnesota State Fair.”
That Peterson ends up joining Fitzgerald in Arizona makes sense from the Cardinals’ point of view. They lost David Johnson to a wrist injury in Week 1, have injuries across the offensive line and statistically are the worst rushing team in the league.
On Peterson’s end, it’s about a fresh opportunity gone sour.
After recording 1,000 or more rushing yards in six of his nine seasons with Minnesota, he signed with the New Orleans Saints this offseason.
But it took just one week for Peterson to find controversy when cameras fixated on the sidelines caught him in a brief exchange with Saints coach Sean Payton.
Both parties said it was nothing. Regardless of the content of one moment in one game, the 32-year-old back’s role has certainly not been what most expected.
With 27 carries and 81 yards through four games in 2017, he was a second option behind Mark Ingram and, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, expendable as the Saints grew impressed with rookie Alvin Kamara.
“I’ve been hearing he just didn’t understand why he didn’t get more opportunities,” Fitzgerald Sr. said. “I was a little surprised he chose New Orleans, particularly with (quarterback) Drew Brees down there. You could sort of see, maybe Adrian made the wrong call. Sometimes you get caught in a situation where you try to think outside the box and it doesn’t work out.
“I’ve been watching the Cardinals, obviously, this season with a very close eye. I was in Philadelphia Sunday and it’s been very difficult to watch. You can’t run, you can’t hide. It’s good to know they’re getting a great running back determined to show he can still play.”