Hall of Fame game highlights Fitzgerald’s college ties

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Winning a Super Bowl not only will complete receiver Larry Fitzgerald’s career, but it also will distinguish him from the growing throng of big-numbers-no-titles wideouts who can’t get in to Canton without paying the admission fee.

And so, as the Cardinals prepare to face the Saints on August 5 at Fawcett Stadium, Fitzgerald will get a little extra incentive for his attempt to return at least five years after he calls it quits.

In an interview with the Hall of Fame’s website, Fitzgerald addresses the fact that two former Pitt Panthers will be inducted the day before the game:  Curtis Martin and Chris Doleman.

And Fitzgerald even breaks out some Pitt trivia along the way.

“Though my career at Pitt lasted only two seasons, the experience left me with strong positive feelings about the city, the university, the coaches, my teammates and the great people of Pittsburgh,” Fitzgerald says, even though a loss to the Steelers in Super Bowl XLIII may have dimmed his view of the ‘Burgh, just a bit.  “It was an enjoyable time in my life, and I sometimes reflect on the football program’s longstanding success.  Our eight Hall of Famers covered every decade from the 1950s right through to the turn of the century, showing remarkable consistency. And, let’s not forget that Joe Stydahar, a 1930s and ’40 Hall of Fame lineman, originally played for Pitt before transferring to our hated archrival, West Virginia.  His Hall of Fame honor makes nine for Pitt, with an asterisk!”

Technically, Stydahar never played for Pitt, which is why Pitt doesn’t get credit for a ninth Hall of Famer.  Whether Fitzgerald becomes the ninth is the bigger question.

“Every practice, every play, every series, every game of every season I’m in a chase of the pursuit of greatness,” Fitzgerald says.  “The standard has been set by the likes of Don Hutson, Lance Alworth, Charley Taylor, Jerry Rice and Michael Irvin. So, I just try and stay healthy, focused, productive and humble and reach for greater heights — getting back to and winning the Super Bowl.”

If that happens, he’ll be joining the other all-time great receivers in the Hall of Fame.  He still may make it without a championship, but it would be easier to get a bronze bust if he can flash a diamond ring.