shines at workout
By: Larry Fitzgerald
Originally posted 1/16/2004
Pittsburgh, Pa. Walter Camp
College Football Player of the Year Larry Fitzgerald Jr.
put an end to any speculation regarding his ability to run
like the wind. Nearly 90 NFL coaches, scouts and
executives were in Pittsburgh at the Cost Center on the
campus of the University of Pittsburgh on Monday, March
22, to watch 17 Panthers work out.
It was believed to be the largest
turnout on the campus since 1997. Among team head coaches,
general managers and presidents present were Dennis Green
of the Arizona Cardinals, Steve Mariucci of the Detroit
Lions, Jack Del-Rio of Jacksonville, Buffalo Bills
President Tom Donahoe, New York Giants General Manager
Ernie Accosi, and Matt Millen of the Lions.
The Vikings were represented by Scott
Studwell; the reason most of the scouts were there was to
see record-setting Pittsburgh All-American Larry
Fitzgerald performed a variety of
drills for all to see, including what many believed the
most important the 40-yard dash. Fitzgerald was timed
on various stopwatches at 4.47 and 4.48 seconds.
Fitzgerald also bench pressed 225 pounds 20 times in
The prevailing assessment after the
workout was that Fitzgerald was impressive. I felt
pretty good about it, he said of his performance. It
Fitzgerald is rated the number-one
player by ESPN NFL draft expert Mel Kiper. Most experts
expect him to be drafted in the top five selections.
Which team is most likely to select
Fitzgerald number one? The 2004 draft is believed to be
the strongest and deepest class of receivers in history
for one draft, and Fitzgerald, the 2003 Biletnikoff Award
winner, heads the class.
The San Diego Chargers have the first
pick in this year's draft; Oakland picks second, Arizona
picks third, and the New York Giants pick fourth. San
Diego just traded wide receiver David Boston to Miami;
their head coach, Marty Shottenhiemer, is a graduate of
Pittsburgh. Oakland Raiders General Manager Mike Lombardi
is a graduate of Valley Forge Military Academy in Wayne, Pennsylvania. Larry Jr. also graduated from Valley Forge
just outside of Philadelphia.
Arizona Head Coach Dennis Green hired
Larry Jr. and his brother Marcus as Vikings team ball boys
when he was head coach in Minnesota for 10 years. Green
said during his tenure in Minnesota that Larry Jr. was
ready to play in the NFL when he was in high school at
Holy Angels in Richfield.
Green also coached Jerry Rice when he
was an assistant with San Francisco, coached Cris Carter
in Minnesota, and drafted Randy Moss in 1998.
The consensus is that Larry Jr.
should have won the 2003 Heisman Trophy. He finished
second to Jason White, who is returning to Oklahoma for
his sixth year. Fitzgerald was the first sophomore ever to
be runner-up for the Heisman.
I've coached two Biletnikoff
winners and seven first-round draft choices at
receiver, said Pittsburgh Head Coach Walt Harris. If
there's somebody better than Larry, I'd like to see
Fitzgerald set or tied four NCAA
records, including scoring at least one touchdown in 18
consecutive games and scoring 34 touchdowns in two years.
Larry Fitzgerald can be heard weekday
mornings on KMOJ, 89.9 FM, at 8:20 am, and Monday mornings
9-10 am. He welcomes reader comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
or www.larry-fitzger ald.com.