Larry Fitzgerald is a no-doubt future Hall of Famer. The 15-year veteran has been honored countless times over for both his on-field and off-field work.
The Arizona Cardinals wideout, however, said speaking at Sen. John McCain’s memorial will be one of the greatest honors he’s ever received.
“It’s truly one of the greatest honors of my life to be able to talk about somebody who served his country so passionately and had been so dedicated to policies of this nation,” Fitzgerald said Monday, via Josh Weinfuss of ESPN. “So, I was really taken aback by it.”
McCain died on Saturday after a battle with brain cancer. He was 81.
Fitzgerald is set to be one of six speakers at McCain’s memorial on Thursday. The receiver is set to speak before former Vice President Joe Biden.
Fitzgerald has known the Arizona Senator for years, and the two grew very close. The Cardinals wideout said he was asked by McCain’s wife, Cindy, a couple of months ago to speak at the service.
Encapsulating the life of a war hero and political giant in only about five or six minutes is something with which Fitzgerald is grappling.
“Fortunately, I’ve had some time to get prepared and put some of my thoughts on paper,” Fitzgerald said. “I’ve had to kind of shorten it down. You have a short window. It’s tough to be able to get everything you want to say. How do you accurately be able to give somebody their due justice who served the United States for 60-plus years, I mean dedicated his entire life?
“You think about those 60-plus years and everything he’s done from his time served as a POW to all the years in the Senate, the things he’s done here for the great state of Arizona — and to be able to do that in five or six minutes is extremely difficult. I’m going to do the best I can and try to honor him for the wonderful man that he is.”
McCain was a visible supporter of each of Arizona’s sports teams. Along with Fitzgerald, former Diamondbacks outfielder Luis Gonzalez and ex-Coyotes forward Shane Doan will serve as pallbearers for Thursday’s memorial.
“The impact that he’s had on myself, Arizona, the nation,” Fitzgerald said. “I’m just going to try to do the best I can.”