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A Hidden Value Of Larry Fitzgerald

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Whether it's his work in the community, production on the field or one of his patented extravagant vacations to a far off destination, Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald always manages to keep the spotlight off of himself.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The current state of the NFL is unlike anything we have ever witnessed before. Players are marketing themselves in front of cameras as not only athletes, but as celebrities and entrepreneurs. Setting themselves up for an income source post-NFL has become paramount, as the unknown of when their playing days will end weighs heavily on their minds.

But that can't necessarily be said for Larry Fitzgerald.

Sure, Fitz has his fair share of marketing deals with companies like VISA, EAS and others. And he has radio and television hits nationwide from time to time. But nothing he does ever compromises the team or makes anyone question his professionalism.

Take what Antonio Brown of the Pittsburgh Steelers did last week after the team's playoff win over the Kansas City Chiefs. While his coach, Mike Tomlin, was giving a post-game victory speech to his team, Brown was busy filming it with his phone and broadcasting it on Facebook for the world to see. He later apologized for the ordeal, but not before his coach called him "foolish" and "selfish" for recording the entire speech.

Another example of players (more specifically, wide receivers) stepping out of their team's comfort zone comes in the form of Odell Beckham Jr. Beckham was seen with many teammates on a yacht trip the week leading up to their playoff game against the Green Bay Packers, which they ended up losing. We can question whether or not his 4 catch, 28 yard performance was due to him not preparing for the game, but what is undeniable is that it created a media circus around the team, which was undoubtedly a distraction.

I could continue giving you examples of NFL players doing something ill advised and creating distractions for their teams, but you get the picture. The point is this: Larry Fitzgerald has never been one to create these types of distractions or force a coach to call him out for questionable behavior. Even when he is engaging in something that would bring his team good press, Fitzgerald tends to be soft spoken and not make the event about him, but about the people he is helping.

So yes, we can continue talking about how great Larry Fitzgerald is on the field at the ripe age of 33. We can also talk about his awesome work outside of University of Phoenix stadium in helping others. Those conversations are warranted with the work he does. But the way he keeps the limelight off of himself and how he would rather shine it onto the team's accomplishments is what puts the perfect bow on top of his NFL Hall of Fame career.