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Larry Fitzgerald has ‘a lot of respect’ for former Cardinals QB Josh Rosen

Larry Fitzgerald #11 and Josh Rosen #3 of the Arizona Cardinals share a laugh prior to the NFL game against the Detroit Lions at State Farm Stadium on December 09, 2018 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)

Larry Fitzgerald has been around the block and stared NFL locker room unhappiness in the face.

So from his point of view, how second-year quarterback Josh Rosen handled the last few months was impressive.

From the moment Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray put his foot in the door to enter the NFL Draft, expectation that the Arizona Cardinals would select the Heisman winner and move on from Rosen grew. When it became reality on Thursday as Murray went first overall to Arizona, it became clear that suspicion was well-founded.

Unsurprisingly, the months of rumors got to Rosen to some degree. After the Cardinals traded him to the Miami Dolphins Friday for two draft picks, the 10th overall pick from the 2018 took the high road. Rosen thanked Cardinals fans in a video, welcomed Murray to his old role as franchise quarterback and then fulfilled a promise to participate in Fitzgerald’s softball event for charity before leaving town.

“I got a chance to talk with Josh every day and I know it’s been a tumultuous few months since all of these rumors have been swirling about the number one pick,” Fitzgerald told Reggie Jackson on Sirius XM Radio’s Mad Dog Sports Radio show. “I don’t know if I’ve seen a young man, 22 years old, be able to handle himself in a situation more effectively.

“I just have a lot of respect for him as a young man, how he’s conducted himself, the way he prepares, his mental approach to football and life in general. I really enjoyed my time around him and I wish him the very best.”

At Rosen’s introductory press conference in Miami, he called Fitzgerald a mentor.

“He’s a lot of things,” Rosen said. “He’s a really good mentor, big brother, uncle. We all call him Uncle Larry. I’ve got a soft spot in my heart for him. He’s been great.”

Rosen has fought negative perceptions ever since his college days at UCLA. Before Arizona drafted him, anonymous scouts, through reporters, red-flagged his outspokenness and penchant for questioning his coaches.

“Coaches unsolicited have called us that know him, that have worked with him, and say a lot of the stuff is B.S.,” said Miami GM Chris Grier over the weekend, according to ESPN.

By most accounts, that was the case in Arizona. Current and former teammates like Justin Pugh and Deone Bucannon tweeted defenses of Rosen’s character when, before he was traded, the quarterback was the target of NFL Network analyst Steve Smith, whose on-air tirade included assumptions about Rosen’s handling of the Murray pick.

While with the Cardinals, Rosen was hailed as an instant leader, regardless of his play on the field. And even as Arizona appeared ready to move on from him, head coach Kliff Kingsbury said he was the first player to show up to offseason workouts and voluntary mini-camp.

Count Fitzgerald as a Rosen defender, too.

 

While Fitzgerald wasn’t asked about Smith’s opinion by Jackson directly, he did remind listeners about his educated perspective on the matter.

“When you’re with someone every single day, you’re around them during the good, you’re around them during the bad, you see their triumphs, you see their failures, you see them when they’re hurt, you see how they interact with your teammates,” Fitzgerald said.

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