Meet football's newest 120 million man

520016.jpg

Meet football's newest 120 million man

Monday, August 22, 2011
TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) -- The Arizona Cardinals and Larry Fitzgerald have agreed to an eight-year deal that could pay the star receiver as much as 120 million, making it one of the richest deals in the NFL. The agreement, with guarantees near 50 million, is by far the biggest in the franchise's history. Fitzgerald and team president Michael Bidwill appeared at a hastily called news conference Saturday night to announce the agreement. Fitzgerald insisted he "hates this part of sports," but he certainly has made a boatload of money. This is the third major contract he has signed, and he doesn't turn 28 until Aug. 31. "Growing up, since I was 7 years old, this has been the game I love and something I have been so passionate about," Fitzgerald said, "and to have to talk about it on the business side is a little bit uncomfortable. But I am really happy to put it behind us and it wouldn't be possible if it wasn't for the Bidwill family's hard work in making this thing happen." The Cardinals had said they wanted Fitzgerald's new contract wrapped up by the start of the regular season, and they made it with two weeks to spare. Bidwill, son of the team's owner Bill Bidwill, said the Cardinals' intent is to have Fitzgerald retire as a Cardinal "but not anytime soon." Fitzgerald, the third overall park in the 2004 draft at the age of 19, spoke of the opportunity to spend his entire career with one team. "It is an honor," he said. "I am so fortunate. Not many players have that opportunity but Michael has allowed me that opportunity and I just want to repay him with great effort and winning. That is what is important." The 6-foot-3, 218 pound receiver has become the franchise's career leader in receptions with 613 and needs just 294 yards to surpass Roy Green for career yards receiving. In Arizona's surprise run to the Super Bowl in the 2008 season, Fitzgerald shattered most of the NFL playoff receiving records. Fitzgerald has topped 1,000 yards receiving in five of his seven NFL seasons, including the last four. He caught 90 passes for 1,137 yards last season even though Arizona had one of the worst offenses in the league while struggling to a 5-11 record, in large part because of poor quarterback play in the wake of the retirement of Kurt Warner. While Fitzgerald said he never insisted the team make a big move for a quarterback -- "I am not anyone to hold a hammer over anyone's head" -- the Cardinals traded for Kevin Kolb from the Philadelphia Eagles, then signed him to a five-year, 63 million contract, with 21 million guaranteed. Fitzgerald, who organized team workouts during the lockout, had a practice session with Kolb long before the trade. Fitzgerald will be under contract to the Cardinals through the 2018 season. It is not known whether the deal contains the kind of terms that gave him huge leverage over the team under its current deal -- specifically a ban on making him a franchise player and a no-trade clause. The contract could have widespread ramifications around the NFL, particularly in the case of running back Chris Johnson, who is holding out for a new deal with the Tennessee Titans. Johnson tweeted "congratulations to (at)LarryFitzgerald god is good" and Fitzgerald responded with "thanks CJ you up next my guy."

DeRozan has career-high 43, Raptors beat Celtics, 107-97

DeRozan has career-high 43, Raptors beat Celtics, 107-97

TORONTO - DeMar DeRozan scored a career-high 43 points and the Toronto Raptors rallied from a 17-point deficit to beat the Boston Celtics 107-97 on Friday night.

DeRozan shot 15 of 28 from the floor as he surpassed his 42-point effort against the Houston Rockets on March 30, 2015, helping the Raptors overcome the absence of fellow All-Star Kyle Lowry. Lowry sat out with a right wrist injury.

Serge Ibaka, acquired by trade from the Orlando Magic last week, scored 15 points in his debut, while fellow newcomer P.J. Tucker, picked up from the Phoenix Suns on Thursday, had a game-high 10 rebounds and nine points in his first game for his new team.

Isaiah Thomas scored 20 points for Boston, which also got 19 points each from Jae Crowder and Marcus Smart.

Down 91-88 with 4:11 to play, the Raptors went on a 9-1 run to lead by five with 2:01 to play. Though Crowder cut that lead to three with a jump shot with 1:46 remaining, DeRozan drilled a jump shot with a minute remaining to put the Raptors up by five.

Tucker was unable to convert either free throw after being fouled by Al Horford with 47 seconds left, but Thomas missed the next time down the court, and after being fouled by Smart, DeRozan converted both free throws with 33 seconds to play. He then followed up with two more after a three-point play from Smart to take the game away from Boston with 27.5 seconds to go.

The Celtics found their range early, connecting on 55 percent of their shots from the floor and 40 percent from 3-point range in the first quarter. The Raptors could only hit 40 percent and went 0 for 3 from beyond the arc, and while DeRozan topped all scorers with 10 points, they were trailing 29-18 after 12 minutes.

Boston pushed its lead to 17 on a 3-point shot from Jaylen Brown with 1:29 to play in the half, but Toronto closed on a 7-0 run following a flagrant foul by Thomas on DeRozan.

The Raptors continued their comeback effort in the third quarter, with Ibaka's 3-pointer with 5:58 to go capping a 27-8 Toronto run to give the Raptors their first lead since the 3:54 mark of the first quarter. Smart's 3-pointer with 3.9 seconds remaining handed Boston a 77-74 edge entering the final 12 minutes.

Mannix: Celtics going to be in best bargaining situation this summer

Mannix: Celtics going to be in best bargaining situation this summer

Chris Mannix helps break down what the Boston Celtics could do with all the cap space this offseason in hopes that they can build a championship team to compete next season.