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Wednesday, August 8, 2012
WR as ambassador: Fitz kind even to refs

By Mike Sando

Larry Fitzgerald craned for a better view of the Arizona Cardinals' offense as the Hall of Fame Game reached its final few minutes.

The Pro Bowl receiver could have moved closer to the action, but that would have prevented him from posing for pictures and signing autographs for fans gathering along the fence line at Fawcett Stadium in Canton, Ohio.

Fitzgerald could not have been a better ambassador for the NFL that night. I made a mental note of it, but didn't think of it again until running across a comment from Shannon Eastin, who is set to become the first female game official in NFL history when Green Bay and San Diego play Thursday night:

Eastin was participating in a national NFL conference call with reporters when someone asked whether any NFL players or coaches had been particularly supportive during her recent visit to Seattle Seahawks practices. Eastin said players there were "very positive" without saying to her anything that stood out.

"I was up in Arizona for a day with their practice as well," she added. "Larry Fitzgerald was extremely kind. He is just a kind individual and he had some really nice things to say. He was one player that stood out to me as just having some really kind things to say."

A cynic might think Fitzgerald was merely sucking up to a game official, except that Fitzgerald treats so many others the same way. He doesn't need favors from Eastin or anyone else to be a great player earning millions of dollars. He wouldn't have to look out for teammates the way he does or cater to fans watching a meaningless game in Ohio.

The latest: On Tuesday, Fitzgerald arranged and paid for the famed "Gates and Sons Bar-B-Q" in Kansas City to cater the entire Cardinals roster, plus coaches, support staff and media after the team practiced in Missouri.