After what he calls the worst season of his career, Larry Fitzgerald, one of the NFL's best wide receivers, had a busy off-season. Fitzgerald headed north to Minneapolis, his hometown, with the Cardinals' new quarterback, Carson Palmer, to work on new plays before training camp. Fitzgerald, who doesn't much like losing, financed the whole thing.
With his $5 million base salary about to jump to $13 million, he can afford it. "If I play at my best, I know it gives the team a better chance to succeed," he says.
To that end, he's subjected himself to a routine refined over nine years in the NFL. Here's how Fitzgerald prepared himself – and the Cardinals – for the comeback that seems to be waiting right around the corner.
There's no easing back into training for Fitzgerald. "It's right into high-intensity workouts," he says. "They're brutal. Not fun at all. But totally necessary." To keep it this way, Bill Welle, his trainer since high school, likes to include a competitive element.
"It's always easier to push when someone is trying to beat you," Welle says.
"Competition is what makes you great," agrees Fitzgerald. "Games are competitive, so I like to keep it competitive in practice and every day in training. It gets me mentally and physically ready for game day."
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