Like Larry Fitzgerald, James Washington Is Playing with the 'Cards' He Was Dealt

Noah Strackbein

PITTSBURGH -- At age 36, Larry Fitzgerald is still playing with some of the Pro Bowl talent he's carried through his 16-year career. As the Arizona Cardinals figure out their young and evolving offense, Fitzgerald continues to hold the torch, being a veteran presence for his rookie quarterback, Kyler Murray. 

In Pittsburgh, the future Hall of Famer's name is well-know. Receiver James Washington may be the next generation of wideouts in the NFL, but he's certainly learned from watching the play of those like Fitzgerald. 

A player who was never known to 'the best' at any one thing, Fitzgerald centered his game on doing what he can with what he had. A motto Washington has lived on throughout his football career.

"Growing up, I always wanted myself to be the fast guy, 4.3, but you know I've got to take the cards that I'm dealt, so he's definitely one that I've watched and try to mock sometimes," Washington said. 

Those cards? Washington said he may not be the fastest of the biggest, but he's got the build of an NFL player and he's making the most of the gifts he was handed.

"I feel like I'm a big-bodied receiver, but I guess God gave me a little bit more jumping ability than others so I kind of make up for it there," he joked.

The Cardinals may be on the opposite end of the playoff hunt than the Steelers, but Pittsburgh is not a team trying to overlook anyone. Washington, along with the rest of the team, is too familiar with losing games they "shouldn't". Something they've stayed cautious of this season.

"You can't go in there thinking we have this game on lock. It was the same thing two weeks ago with the Bengals, you know they gave us a fight," Washington said. "Everyone saw that. It was definitely a game where you could go in there with that mind set but in the NFL can happen. You've got to go in there focused and ready to go."