NFL | Steelers have seen Larry Fitzgerald for years
Larry Fitzgerald might be the most-scouted player in Pittsburgh Steelers history. For two years, they merely needed to look out their office...
Arizona vs. Pittsburgh, Feb. 1, Tampa, Fla., 3:25 p.m. kickoff, Ch. 5.
PITTSBURGH — Larry Fitzgerald might be the most-scouted player in Pittsburgh Steelers history. For two years, they merely needed to look out their office windows to watch him.
Fitzgerald's exceptional hands, knack for making difficult catches while covered and leaping ability might pose the biggest obstacle to the Steelers beating the Arizona Cardinals in Super Bowl XLIII on Feb. 1 in Tampa, Fla.
As Steelers coach Mike Tomlin suggested Tuesday, scouting and a good game plan alone aren't enough to slow Arizona's Fitzgerald, whose 419 yards receiving are the most in a single league postseason, with one game remaining.
"If you get down the field one-on-one with him, he's going to come back with the football," Tomlin said. "He is the best in the world at that, bar none."
Displayed in the Heinz Field press box in Pittsburgh, alongside pictures of former and current Steelers players, is a large image of Fitzgerald leaping above three Texas A&M defenders to make a touchdown catch while at Pittsburgh in 2003.
Ask the Philadelphia Eagles about such plays.
The 6-foot-3 Fitzgerald's series of three, can-you-top-this touchdown catches in Sunday's NFC Championship Game helped to prevent an all-Pennsylvania Super Bowl. It also set up an improbable matchup between the Cardinals, an old franchise that could hardly be less successful, and the Steelers, an old franchise that could hardly be more successful.
"Larry Fitzgerald is, quite simply, the best receiver in the world down the field in one-on-one situations," Tomlin said. "If we're to be successful in Tampa, we need to limit the number of times we're downfield with him one-on-one. Invariably, he's going to come up with the football. The [video] tape tells us that."
So did their own eyes.
Although the Steelers and University of Pittsburgh don't practice together on the four-field complex they share on the city's South Side, more than a few Steelers employees were tempted to sneak some peeks at Fitzgerald when he played for Pitt in 2003 and 2004.
In his two college seasons, Fitzgerald caught 161 passes for 2,677 yards and 34 touchdowns.
Tomlin isn't about to tip his hand about the Steelers' coverage plans for the 25-year-old Fitzgerald, but there is little doubt cornerback Ike Taylor and safety Ryan Clark are keys.
• Stephen Ross, majority owner of the Miami Dolphins, said Bill Parcells will remain in charge of the football operation. Ross, a New York real-estate billionaire, completed his purchase of 95 percent of the franchise for $1 billion, with Wayne Huizenga retaining a 5 percent interest.
Questioned by media, Parcells would not commit outright to staying with the franchise but said he likes Ross and is not seeking a new contract.
• Ron Meeks, 54, has resigned after seven seasons as defensive coordinator of the Indianapolis Colts.
• Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb's offseason home in Chandler, Ariz., was a target for Arizona fans last weekend. Two fans put their team's flag in a tree and burned slogans such as "Go Cards" in McNabb's yard with diesel fuel, Chandler police Sgt. Joe Favazzo said, causing about $2,000 in damage.
Favazzo said officers found an address label on a box that had been left, and it led to Chandler resident Rex Perkins, 37, who admitted to the acts, as did Ryan Hanlon, 28. Perkins and Hanlon were cited for misdemeanor criminal damage.
• Voters approved a bond measure that would provide $150 million for infrastructure improvements at a 600-acre site near Los Angeles where a stadium has been proposed to lure a team.
Voters in City of Industry, Calif., a town about 15 miles east of Los Angeles, passed the measure 60-1, though city officials have yet to certify the plan. The results support a proposal by billionaire developer Ed Roski's Majestic Real Estate Co. to build an $800 million stadium if a league team agrees to move there.
• AFC quarterbacks Brett Favre of the New York Jets and Philip Rivers of San Diego will not play in the Feb. 8 Pro Bowl in Honolulu because of injuries. Tennessee QB Kerry Collins has been added to the AFC roster.
• Hall of Famer Dante "Gluefingers" Lavelli, a standout receiver for the Cleveland Browns from 1946 to 1956, died at a Cleveland hospital, a spokeswoman said. He was 85.
Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company
UPDATE - 07:23 AM
NFL, union resume labor talks at mediator's office