Fitz Agrees To 8-Year Extension; Run For Governor Can't Be Ruled Out

The Arizona Cardinals and Larry Fitzgerald agreed to terms that keeps the star receiver in red and white for the sports equivalent of forever.

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6 Total Updates since August 18, 2011
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Arizona Finds Out If It Will Host 2015 Super Bowl On Tuesday

A summer's worth of optimism may come to fruition for Arizona as the NFL will decide who will host the 2015 Super Bowl on Tuesday, with Tampa as the other option.

The league's 32 owners will decide who gets the nod to host the biggest sporting event of any year and Arizona has a track record and background that makes it a strong candidate, including hosting the classic upset of the Patriots by the NY Giants during Super Bowl XLII in 2008.

Last time Tampa hosted the Super Bowl, the Cardinals made their Super Bowl debut in close loss to the Steelers.

"I feel very good about our chances with the Super Bowl," said Arizona Cardinals' president Michael Bidwill during a training camp practice this past summer. "It's just us and Tampa/Orlando region."

Arizona has proven to be a prime destination to host major sporting events. Aside from the Super Bowl in ‘08', this past year saw the BCS championship game and the MLB All-Star game both make successful trips through Arizona.

The Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee makes their decision based on a checklist of items that include securing hotel rooms, corporate sponsors, event venues, among others.

At least Arizona knows that that's a test it's already proven well capable of passing.

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Larry Fitzgerald Contract Signing Press Conference: 'We've Got A Shared Commitment To Winning'

Within an hour of news breaking that the Arizona Cardinals had agreed to terms for an eight-year contract with Larry Fitzgerald, the team was holding a press conference in their Tempe headquarters. Team president Michael Bidwill joined Fitzgerald on the podium and talked about the deal and the relationship between the star wide receiver and the Arizona Cardinals Football Club.

"We've come to terms on a new eight-year agreement, and we're pleased to be announcing that today," Mr. Bidwill announced, "We're excited about what the future holds not only for Larry and the Cardinals but to see him retire as a Cardinal some day, hopefully not any time soon."

For many years in Arizona sports, the Bidwill family, primarily Michael's father Bill, was considered a "bad" owner. The team consistently didn't spend enough to put a winning team on the field. For years Arizona football fans were treated to an inferior product played in an inferior stadium. 

The last few years have changed all that. Since the opening of the new University of Phoenix Stadium, the hiring of coach Ken Whisenhunt and, yes, the drafting of Larry Fitzgerald in 2004, the team has started to take off. The 2009 Super Bowl teased what was possible and having tasted what the dream could be like, Michael has reinvigorated the once moribund franchise.

Larry Fitzgerald's passion for and commitment to the Bidwills is just a sign of how far things have come.

"I just want to thank the Bidwill family how they've taken me in over the years. I feel like I'm one of the family," Fitzgerald said. 

And who wouldn't want Larry Fitzgerald as part of their family? He was visibly emotional and obviously uncomfortable on the podium talking about this subject. He confirmed why.

"I'm really uncomfortable up here talking about this type of thing to be honest with you. I look over here to the right (at the posters on the wall in the media room) and I see guys like Kurt (Warner), Adrian Wilson, myself up here on the podium right before we went to the Super Bowl and that's what I want to be on the podium for coming soon. That's what I signed up for and I know that's what the Bidwill family expects. I'm going to do my best to get us back there again."

Fitzgerald was asked if he was waiting to sign an extension to see what kind of moves the Cardinals made in free agency to improve the team. Fitz gave an answer that didn't ring completely...candid.

"No, I'm not one to try to hold a hammer over anybody's head or anything like that. This is Mr. Bidwill's team. He's going to do everything he can to make this organization go and we've seen that over the last couple of years. The activity in free agency this year isn't something I've seen since I've been here and I think that's a sign of things to come. We can continue to be aggressive making this team better."

He wasn't holding a "hammer" but on several occasions including in this press conference pointed out how aggressive the team was in this free agency. You can't blame him for wanting the Cardinals to spend money and get better. If he used the leverage he had, Cards fans should thank him.

As for the deal itself, Mr. Bidwill said the way it was structured wouldn't hamper the team's ability to sign other good players, "We're excited that Larry was able to work with us and allow us to structure this in a way that allows it to be very positive for him but also very positive for the team so that we can continue to build this team. We've got a shared commitment to winning."

On a side note, Larry arrived to the press conference with his brother and friend, singer Jordin Sparks. Larry said they were eating at a local sushi restaurant, Ra, when they got the call to come over for the press conference.

Fitzgerald also brought his cleats, he explained why, "When you sign and eight-year deal when you come to the bosses office I had to feel like I was doing something. If they wanted me to go out and run some routes today, I was ready to."

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Larry Fitzgerald Agrees To Monster Extension With Arizona Cardinals, ESPN Reports

This, Arizona Cardinals fans, is the news you were waiting for. Letting Larry Fitzgerald walk out of town was simply not an option for the Bidwill family. He very well could go down as the single greatest athlete in Arizona sports history for his combination of top-tier talent and unparalleled character and humanity. Go ahead and hate puppies and kittens, but it's impossible not to love and adore Larry Fitzgerald. 

Here's the report (still unofficial) from the typically reliable Adam Schefter:

Filed to ESPN: Arizona will sign WR Larry Fitzgerald to a record 8-year, $120 million deal that includes close to $50 million guaranteed.less than a minute ago via UberSocial for BlackBerry Favorite Retweet Reply

 

Yes, that's a lot of money for a football player. But considering what Fitz brings to the game and compared to the $50 million guaranteed to a rookie (Sam Bradford), it's money well spent. Compared to guys like baseball's Jason Werth ($126m) and basketball's Joe Johnson ($124m), it's an absolute steal.

With Fitz, who's only 27, there's no question that you are going to get his absolute best each and every time he steps on the field. You are going to get spectacular plays (like this one from Friday night) and you are going to a leader and franchise player who will never embarrass your team and sport. 

It's a big contract, but when it came to paying Larry Fitzgerald there simply isn't such a thing as "over paid".

For more on Larry Fitzgerald and the Arizona Cardinals visit Revenge of the Birds.

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Addition of Kevin Kolb May Sway Larry Fitzgerald to Stay in Arizona

Speculation about Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald's contract status with the team has been a hot topic of discussion around training camp thus far, but there might be one Cardinal that impacts his decision more than most; quarterback Kevin Kolb

Their chemistry began long before camp did as the two took part in a week's worth of offseason workouts together, growing comfortable with each other's styles and their mindsets about the game. This is the first time since Kurt Warner's departure that Fitz will have a legit QB diming him out game after game, which would make any WR excited, especially one with the talent of Fitzgerald.

With Fitz's contract expiring at the end of the season, the Cardinals needed to show him they are willing to do what it takes to have a winning club, and with Kolb intact it certainly looks like they are headed in that direction, on paper anyway. The team wants Fitz to sign a lengthy extension, up to six years even, that would put him om track to retire a Cardinal and make the most of their window of opportunity with him.  He currently has a 'no franchise' clause in his present contract, and a self imposed September 4 deadline to have a new deal in place, meaning the sands of the hourglass are stating to run out on both Fitz and the Cardinals to get a deal done.

Sports Illustrated's Jim Trotter was at Cards camp to speak with Fitz about the situation, and lo and behold, he didn't have much to say:

How close are the sides?

"Closer than we were last week," Fitzgerald said.

How far are they from reaching an agreement?

"Not too far away," he added.

My gut feeling: An extension will be finalized before Fitzgerald's stated deadline.

Fitz is playing this one close to the chest, but for the Cardinals sake I hope Trotter's gut feeling is right. 

For more on the Cardinals, check out Revenge of the Birds to get in on the action. 

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Larry Fitzgerald Extension Or Super Bowl 2015? Arizona Close To Landing Both

Arizona Cardinals' president Michael Bidwill gave two very positive updates on deals that have long-term impact on the team and the state.

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