Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald joins Buffalo Bills multimedia journalist Maddy Glab and team owner and president Kim Pegula on the latest episode of "Bills Pod Squad," presented by New York Lottery.
Fitzgerald, 37, is regarded not only as one of the greatest receivers of all time, but as an NFL icon for his leadership and work off the field. His resume includes 11 Pro Bowl selections, a place on the Pro Football Hall of Fame's All-Decade Team of the 2010s, and a Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award in 2016. His 17,344 receiving yards rank second all-time behind Hall of Famer Jerry Rice.
The Bills play Fitzgerald and the Cardinals in Arizona this Sunday in their final game before the bye.
Here are three takeaways from Kim and Maddy's conversation with Fitzgerald.
1. He has close connections in the Bills' receiver room
Fitzgerald goes into detail regarding his friendships on the Bills, from his respect for John Brown to his worldly travels with another former Cardinal in Andre Roberts. He also explains why he is looking forward to shaking hands with Gabriel Davis come Sunday.
"I love to see guys be able to grow into the people they are," he said. "I'm elated for them. I'm looking forward to just giving those boys some hugs, man, and telling them I love them. I'm just happy for them."
That's not to say he'll be taking it easy against them.
"When you play against your friends, you want to beat them more than anything because you talk to them, you spend time with them," he said. "So, if you lose to them, you've got to hear about it for the rest of the year. You want to be able to get the bragging rights."
2. He was a "quiet Bills fan" growing up
Fitzgerald is one of the NFL's elder statesmen these days, a figure other players respect and learn from whether it be up close or from afar. It turns out that some of his own mentors are former players who were members of the Super Bowl Bills teams in the early '90s.
Fitzgerald rattled off a long list of Bills he watched growing up and has since relied on as mentors, from Jim Kelly and Thurman Thomas to Frank Reich and Kenneth Davis.
"I was a quiet Bills fan growing up," he said. "… I loved watching them. I loved the way they competed."
3. He has a social initiative in common with Bills players
Fitzgerald, the 2016 Walter Payton Man of the Year, has championed computer literacy for young people as a cause in recent years, teaming with Microsoft to donate computer labs to schools in need.
That cause has continued with many children relegated to learning from home during the COVID-19 pandemic. Similarly, Bills players announced in September a partnership with Mayor Byron Brown to provide internet access to roughly 4,000 homes of Buffalo Public School students.
"With some of these young people not being able to go to school, being able to still log in and be able to be attentive in class and work from home has been great," Fitzgerald said.