Cards notes: Fitzgerald would rework deal to keep "Q" - East Valley Tribune: Sports

Cards notes: Fitzgerald would rework deal to keep "Q"

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Posted: Wednesday, January 28, 2009 2:27 pm | Updated: 12:47 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

TAMPA -- Larry Fitzgerald is willing to rework his four-year, $40 million contract to help keep Anquan Boldin and perhaps others in the team’s fold, Fitzgerald indicated here Wednesday.

Boldin has been dissatisfied with his contract, which has two more years to run.

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Cards notes: Fitzgerald would rework deal to keep "Q"

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“To keep my brother ‘Q’ or anybody else, I’ll definitely help out,” Fitzgerald said.

Fitzgerald pointed out the Cardinals “have been in the cellar of the NFL for so long,” he’d like to build on their current success.

“It’s such an honor to play in this game. Anything I can do to help out.”

Boldin appreciated Fitzgerald's gesture, even hinting he's open to returning to the Cardinals.

"Fitz and I have been together for five years, and we've been through a lot together. I think the relationship that we have, neither of us want to see broken up.

"There's a mutual respect, not only as receivers but as friends. And we realize that we make each other's jobs easier."

STUMPING FOR GRIMM

Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt used his media platform Wednesday morning to stump for his friend and assistant head coach, Russ Grimm, who is up for election to football’s Hall of Fame.

Voters will meet early Saturday morning at the media center in Tampa – the city’s convention center -- for breakfast, then will spend the morning arguing over the candidates.

The winners will be announced Saturday afternoon.

“I know what this means to him,” Whisenhunt said. "(He's) one of the best ever players at his position.

“He’s very deserving.”

BOWL IS SUPER DOWN UNDER

The Cardinals’ punter is attracting attention in Tampa.

That’s because Ben Graham is the first Australian to play in the Super Bowl.

Turns out that Graham is big Down Under, as is the Super Bowl.

“The Super Bowl in Australia is a big event,” he said. “I remember growing up, I didn’t know anything about the NFL. But I used to turn on the TV and watch the Super Bowl because it is an international event.”

Australians are watching not just the Super Bowl “but the entire playoffs,” he said.

The game is seen live at 10:30 a.m. on Monday morning.

“It’s the perfect time to skip work for a day,” Graham said.

For those who do show up for work, TVs will be on; same goes for bars and restaurants, he said.

“I’m hopeful they’re all rooting for the Cardinals.”

Graham played Australian Rules Football for 12 years and is a well-known sports figure there.

In 1997, a scout named Eric Mangini, now the Cleveland Browns coach, came to Australia and worked out Graham and others.

After he retired from Australian football in 2004, he came to the United States and worked out for four teams.

He went to training camp with the New York Jets, won the punting job and was there for three and a half years.

Late this season he landed with the Cardinals, who had been unsettled at the position since releasing Scott Player in 2007.

“I was always planning to make the transition and come to the States," Graham said. "I didn’t want to grow old wondering, 'What if?' ”

HOME TEAM CONNECTION

The Cardinals and baseball’s Tampa Rays would seem to be kindred spirits, two of the great Cinderella stories in American sports history.

So it’s not surprising the two are fans of each other.

The Cardinals heard Rays manager Joe Maddon is a Cards’ fan so they sent him some gear.

“We exchanged messages," Whisenhunt said. "I called him a few times before his games in his playoff run and wished him luck. He’s done the same for me.

“It’s been an exciting relationship for me from the standpoint of his team kind of coming out of nowhere, playing well and getting to the big game.”

They hope the script is different only at the end; the Rays’ magical season ended with a World Series loss to Philadelphia.

“We can draw parallels all the way up to the last game;” Whisenhunt said. “Maybe it will go a little differently for us.”

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