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Larry Fitzgerald kills opponents with kindness out of professionalism

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Larry Fitzgerald not only has carved out a phenomenal 12-year NFL career as he developed into one the better wide receivers in the league, he’s also has a reputation of being a class act on the field. So much so, in fact, it often rankles his opponents.

But the 32-year-old Arizona Cardinals wideout insists he isn’t trying to play head games or engage in psychological warfare or anything of that nature. Instead, Fitzgerald says he does it out of professional respect for his opponents, arguing that the players who line up against him are his colleagues, not his sworn enemies.

“I’m not trying to hurt anybody or do anything malicious, but at the end of the day, I’ve got a family to feed, just like he does, and we’re going to go out there and we’re going to give it our best, and the best man’s going to win,” he said, via azcentral. “But I think there’s a professionalism you can take to it, and I just try to be respectful of the game and be respectful of the players that play it.”

A recent story in The Wall Street Journal details how Fitzgerald often kills opponents with kindness, much to the chagrin of the likes of Atlanta Falcons defensive back Desmond Trufant, who said Fitzgerald being a “real good dude” threw him off his game.

Whether or not Fitzgerald’s friendly demeanor is inspired by the best intentions or otherwise — and there’s no reason not to believe him — whatever he has been doing this season has paid huge dividends. The veteran wide receiver enjoyed a career renaissance of sorts while playing a key role in the Cardinals’ dangerous offense, making 109 receptions for 1,215 yards  and nine touchdowns, his most productive season overall in several seasons, something that helped Arizona to a 13-3 record.

And being a nice guy on the field? Well, that’s just part of the whole process, apparently. With the Cardinals set to host the Green Bay Packers in the divisional round this weekend, the corners who line up against him better get ready for some friendly banter.