No sooner had six-time Pro Bowl receiver Larry Fitzgerald arrived in Uganda in July on a humanitarian mission than former president Bill Clinton hit him with the question:
"Who's going to be the Cardinals' starting quarterback?"
Be it Arizona or Africa, the question haunts Fitzgerald, the NFL's best receiver playing without a proven quarterback.
The question also haunts safety Adrian Wilson, who, after two troubling preseason games for the sputtering offense, told USA TODAY Sports: "I don't really give a (expletive) who wins the quarterback job. It's really that blunt for us defensively. We have to stop teams from scoring."
Even if it appears the Arizona Cardinals have two backups and no clear No. 1 in the open competition between Kevin Kolb and John Skelton, Fitzgerald says he has no regrets that the Cards lost out to the Denver Broncos as one of 12 teams vying for free agent Peyton Manning.
"Every man has to make a decision that's best for himself and his family," Fitzgerald said.
Still, think of the possibilities of Manning to Fitzgerald. Now think of the guys who will throw to Fitzgerald instead -- it's a big difference. Fitzgerald's 693 receptions through 124 career games are more than any Pro Football Hall of Fame receiver had over the same span.
Arguably the game's best receiver, Fitzgerald appears a Hall lock, even without a big-name passer in his foreseeable future. Hall of Fame receiver Jerry Rice collected the bulk of his 610 receptions over the same span of games from Hall of Famers Joe Montana and Steve Young.
Fitzgerald, meanwhile, has caught balls from 12 Cardinals passersby -- names such as Max Hall, John Navarre, Tim Rattay, Brian St. Pierre, Josh McCown, Derek Anderson, Richard Bartel, Matt Leinart and Shaun King. Of course, Fitzgerald also caught 345 passes from Kurt Warner from 2005 to 2009.
Since Warner retired in 2009, one season after he and Fitzgerald helped bring the Cardinals to the brink of a championship in Super Bowl XLIII, Arizona's huddle has had a revolving door. And therein lies another what-if. What if Warner had not retired?
"I try not to let my mind go there," Fitzgerald said. "It's like laying in bed with your wife, thinking about an old girlfriend. It's not fair."
So Fitzgerald will catch balls when struggling quarterbacks can get them to him, and he'll be a leader. Coach Ken Whisenhunt cited how Fitzgerald chided rookie receiver Michael Floyd on Twitter when Floyd missed three July workouts.
Floyd showed up the day after Fitzgerald tweeted "DWI," as in "Don't Want It," mocking Floyd's two citations for underage alcohol consumption and a DUI arrest during his Notre Dame career.
"Larry can call somebody out because of how bad he wants it, and people take it the right way," Warner said. "Five, six years ago, Larry would have worried more about how that would have affected relationships with teammates. He would have wanted somebody else to be that guy."
But Fitzgerald, who turns 29 on Aug.31, realizes the window is closing.
"I don't think about being that close to winning a Super Bowl as often as I used to," Fitzgerald said. "I'm not getting any younger. I want to be able to raise that bar, and for me to do that, I have to win a Super Bowl now."
He invited Floyd to share his home, hoping the rookie would be the potential big-play wingman Fitzgerald has lacked since Anquan Boldin was traded to the Baltimore Ravens after Arizona's Super Bowl season.
"What surprised me about Larry when I first got here was how outgoing he is," kicker Jay Feely said. "He'd invite me over to watch a game. He's invited (safety) Kerry Rhodes, Michael Floyd to live with him.
"When the face of your franchise and your highest-paid player is that open and your hardest worker, it elevates everyone."
It's Fitzgerald's receiver/giver legacy, similar to what Rice, former Dallas Cowboys receiver Michael Irvin, former Minnesota Vikings receiver Cris Carter and others passed on.
"They're the flag bearers," Fitzgerald said. "I wouldn't be able to earn the living I'm able to if they didn't sacrifice for me.
"That's why it's my responsibility to Michael Floyd and (Cincinnati Bengals wideout) A.J. Green to make this league better and elevate the receiver position."
Fitzgerald received Pro Football Weekly's Humanitarian of the Year award Tuesday for his work in Africa as part of his foundation, which honors his late mother, Carol, who died of breast cancer in 2003.
"My mom and dad ingrained in me, 'Always do more,'" Fitzgerald said.
This season, he'll get that chance.
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