Aug. 13, 2012
Riverwoods, IL -
Pro Football Weekly announces in this week’s issue that Arizona Cardinals wide receiver and former Pitt star Larry Fitzgerald is the recipient of the 14th annual Arthur S. Arkush Humanitarian Award, presented to an NFL player whose contributions to the community and charitable organizations are especially outstanding.
Here are just a few of the ways that Fitzgerald makes a positive impact off the field:
The Larry Fitzgerald First Down Fund pays for positive activities for kids during the summer and throughout the year, with programs in Arizona, Minneapolis and Chicago. It also makes significant contributions — in time, money and resources — to numerous organizations throughout the United States.
His work with the Carol Fitzgerald Memorial Fund, which was established in honor of his late mother, who passed away from breast cancer in 2003, offers support of causes that Fitzgerald’s mother held dear, including educating urban youth about HIV/AIDS and breast cancer issues.
He has traveled to Africa multiple times, both on humanitarian missions with his good friend Anquan Boldin and on behalf of the Starkey Hearing Foundation. His most recent trip to the continent was in late July right before training camp when he flew to Uganda to assist former President Bill Clinton and his daughter Chelsea fit hearing aids for those in need.
His use of social media has been exemplary. Through Twitter and Facebook he connects with his fans while also benefiting others. For example, he created “Gimme 5 Fridays with Fitz,” during which he tweets to his huge following (more than 1.3 million) and asks “Team Fitzgerald” to text HAND to 50555 to donate $5 to Phoenix Children’s Hospital.
Fitzgerald was one of five finalists for this year’s Humanitarian Award. The other finalists were Matt Birk of the Ravens, Thomas Davis of the Panthers, Davin Joseph of the Buccaneers and Matt Schaub of the Texans.
The award is named in honor of Arthur S. Arkush, the founder of Pro Football Weekly.
Fitzgerald’s success in the NFL is no surprise to those who saw him as a collegian in Pittsburgh during the 2002 and ’03 seasons.
One of the most decorated players in Pitt history, Fitzgerald became the first-ever sophomore winner of the prestigious Walter Camp Award in 2003. That same season he earned the Biletnikoff Award as the country’s top wideout and was named the Big East Offensive Player of the Year and ECAC (Eastern) Player of the Year. He was the runner-up for the Heisman Trophy, becoming the highest-finishing sophomore in the history of the award to that point.
A unanimous All-American, Fitzgerald caught a touchdown in an amazing 18 consecutive games over the 2002-03 seasons to set an NCAA record. He led the country in receiving his final year with 92 catches for 1,672 receiving yards and 22 TDs.
His two-year career totals at Pitt were nothing short of astounding: 161 catches for 2,677 yards and 34 touchdowns.
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