Larry Fitzgerald talks about new commercial in which he remembers his mom

Sep 15, 2016, 5:28 PM | Updated: Sep 18, 2016, 1:12 pm

TEMPE, Ariz. — Rare is the commercial that tugs at the heart strings, yet a recent spot for the University of Phoenix featuring Cardinals star Larry Fitzgerald did exactly that.

In the ad, Fitzgerald talks about his mother Carol, who passed away from breast cancer in 2003, and how she always told him getting a college degree was a must, no matter what happened with him in athletics.

From there, Fitzgerald said he would call his parents’ house just to hear his mom’s voice on the answering machine. He then does exactly that, and proceeds to leave a touching voicemail about how he fulfilled the promise she held him to in earning his degree, before adding he plans to pass her teachings and values to his own children.

“I listen to it, actually, a lot,” he said of his mom’s message. “My mom is somebody that I use, constantly, for inspiration. There are a lot of things she went through — I’m hurting, I’m sore, I’m not feeling great or I don’t want to practice or I’m dealing with something — I always can remember my mom, for instance, going through her chemotherapy and I come upstairs and I see her throwing up in the bathroom. I still see her wipe her mouth and clean herself up and get up and go to work and caring about her business.

“Just kind of the mentality and the discipline that she had, no matter what the obstacle was. I kind of try to use that as inspiration because whatever life throws at you, you have two options: you can either lay down or you can get up and keep fighting.”

Fitzgerald added his mom’s example always made him want to fight regardless of the circumstances, and no doubt that mentality has served him well.

As for the commercial itself, Fitzgerald, who earned a Bachelor in Communication degree in 2016, said the feedback has been mostly positive.

“I think a lot of people can relate to having different things that they are involved in and it kind of takes them off the course that they thought they wanted to be on — mine just happened to be the National Football League,” he said. “I read essays every single week of people who are trying to win the scholarship to go back to school, and some of the things that you read are truly inspiring.

“Deaths in their families, and just all types of things you can only imagine, and their desire is to go back to school. Reading those a lot of times gave me inspiration to continue to fight and push through, because it’s easy to think, ‘Do I really need this; I’m good, I don’t really need a degree,’ but it’s not about that — it’s about starting something and always finishing it, and that can apply to anything in sport, in life, in anything that you do. And that’s also a good example for your children.”

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