Larry Fitzgerald on Christian Kirk: 'He's Made Me a Better Man'
When the Arizona Cardinals selected wide receiver Christian Kirk with a second-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, he knew he had the opportunity to gain knowledge from a veteran who has established himself as one of the game's greatest receiving threats: Larry Fitzgerald.
In two years, Kirk has gained a lot. Now, the organization has traded for DeAndre Hopkins, arguably the most dynamic player at his position in the league. Kirk is relishing the opportunity to gain more knowledge from both.
"The fact that I'm playing with arguably a first-ballot Hall of Famer, arguably the best receiver to ever play the game (Fitzgerald) and then one of the best receivers, arguably the best receiver currently in the game right now (Hopkins), if those are the two guys in front of me that I'm learning from and following in their footsteps, then I have no problem with that," Kirk told reporters Wednesday. "They're ultimately in the same position that I want to be in. So, why not be able to play next to and be able to work and follow and just be able to mirror what they do every single day? I think that's an advantage toward me."
Friday, Fitzgerald opened up to reporters on the impact that Kirk has made on him in his two years since joining the franchise. Aside from the statistical improvement — he played in 13 games (all starts) with 68 receptions (on 108 targets) for 709 yards (10.4-yard average) and three touchdowns last season — Kirk has been impactful in the locker room and within his position group.
"Well, let me first start off by telling you how much I love Christian Kirk," Fitzgerald said. "He's a really, really special young man and he's made me a better man being around him over these last two years. Just wanted to give a shout-out to his mom and dad for bringing him into this world because it's a better place with him in it."
When Kirk initially joined the Cardinals in 2018, he set goals to live up to the lofty expectations and the standard that Fitzgerald has created in his career there. It is those aspirations that continue to push him, but it is not solely for Fitzgerald's impact on the gridiron.
"Me filling in Fitz's shoes and trying to fit in his shoes and following his path, it's more than on the field," Kirk said. "Just what he has done as a community leader and just his presence, not only here in Arizona, but in society and him as a businessman. Just being able to learn from him in all aspects of that nature."