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Larry Fitzgerald: True feelings on Cardinals cutting Floyd might upset some

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Michael Floyd (15) celebrates his touchdown with Larry Fitzgerald during the second half of an NFL football game against the Washington Redskins, Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

TEMPE, Ariz. — The news may not have come as much of a surprise to those outside of the Arizona Cardinals’ locker room, but the team releasing receiver Michael Floyd after he was arrested on DUI charges early Monday morning hit his teammates pretty hard.

And, it appears, no one was hit harder than Floyd’s former teammate in the receiver room, Larry Fitzgerald.

“I can’t give you my true feeling because people might get upset with what I really feel, but Mike is like my brother,” Fitzgerald said Thursday. “I’ve known Mike since he was 13 years old; we come from the same place. I love him dearly.

“And like any other family member, I never turn my back on him no matter what. I’m going to support him.”

Fitzgerald added he saw Floyd Wednesday and was going to again Thursday, emphasizing that it is important to support people when they are going through tough times.

As for how Floyd was handling these last few days, Fitzgerald did not want to elaborate, though he said the Cardinals have parted with a player who brought spirit, tenacity, nastiness and passion. The veteran compared Floyd to former Cardinal and current Detroit Lion Anquan Boldin in that regard.

“We’ve got to try to go out there and play the way he’s capable of playing,” Fitzgerald said. “Just try to do the best we can.”

As bad as things seem right now for Floyd, being cut by the Cardinals did not signal the end of his career. The 27-year-old’s down season got worse, yes, but news has come out that the receiver was claimed off waivers by the New England Patriots.

That news came out after Fitzgerald chatted with the media, though it surely will come as no surprise to him.

“I got a couple calls [Wednesday] from people around the league, head coaches, GMs, and I told them my honest opinion of him,” Fitzgerald said. “I think he’s going to be a great pickup for whoever lands him.

“You’ve got a young guy who’s hungry, he’s eager to make plays on a contract year. He’s got a chip on his shoulder now — not that he didn’t already have one, but he’s got a bigger one — and I hope he goes and makes a deep playoff run.”

With the Patriots, that is very possible.

Prior to being released, this season Floyd caught 33 passes for 446 yards and four touchdowns. He struggled with consistency and drops, and in many games was not much of a factor. Still, players with his potential rarely become available at this point in the season, and it’s likely some team will bring him in for the season’s final few weeks.

In nearly four full seasons, Floyd has amassed 242 catches for 3,739 yards and 23 touchdowns. He has been dominant at times, though never quite fulfilled the promise he had when he was drafted out of Notre Dame.

He also now has some extra baggage — which is something the Patriots have never shied away from taking on — though Fitzgerald is confident Floyd is a player whose reputation does not accurately reflect the person.

“Contrary to reports, Mike was never an immature guy,” he said. “He had his incident in college, but we all make mistakes; I’ve made mine, everybody in this locker room, everybody in life has made mistakes.

“It’s just, when you play in the National Football League and you’re under the microscope and everything you do is micromanaged. Mike is a good young man. He’s somebody I highly respect and care about deeply. I just hope that he finds himself in a situation that he’s happy with and he can have a long, prosperous career.”

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