He was last spotted on I-10 heading west, still carrying the football and running full speed, a few miles from the California border.
"I wish he hadn't decided to run away forever, but I actually expected it to happen a long time ago," said head coach Ken Whisenhunt. "The fact he stayed here this long shows what a great guy he is. I wish him nothing but the best. And it can really only get better for him away from here."
Whisenhunt briefly, and weakly, called after Fitzgerald after he ran off the field.
"Wait. Wait, Larry. Don't go," said the head coach in a barely audible monotone. "You can still accomplish a lot here. Ah, hell. Nevermind. Go. Go and be free. You deserve so much more."
Several of Fitzgerald's teammates decided to flee the Cardinals with him, but most tired before they even reached the parking lot and had to defeatedly wander back to the field to continue practicing with their fellow terrible teammates. Quarterbacks John Skelton and Ryan Lindley never made it out of the stadium because they couldn't figure out how to work the door.
This is also how it would like if America was asked the question: "Who likes Arizona?"
February 5, 2010 Column
Tweet of the Week
Tweet of the Week
From @Lfitzgerald11 AKA Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald
(Tweeted less than 25 hours before the Pro Bowl the game he pulled out of with a "knee injury".)
His fellow cover subject on Madden NFL 10, Troy Polamalu, didn't make it through the first half of his first regular season game of the year before suffering a serious knee injury. Once he saw that, Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald decided he wasn't going to sit idly by and wait to see how fate would punish him.
Instead, he took matters into his own hands and lost an important part of those hands in the process.
"Troy's knee was hurt pretty bad," said Fitzgerald. "I didn't want something like that to happen to me or worse. So I grabbed a butcher's knife out of the drawer, bit down on a wooden spoon and chopped off my pinkie."
Before he could reconsider, Fitzgerald says he threw the severed digit into his kitchen sink and pushed it far down into the drain where he could reach it.
"I didn't want to panic and run to the hospital to have my finger re-attached," said the receiver, "only to take the field on Sunday and have some linebacker blow out my knee on a hit. I wanted to finish this Madden business now and on my own terms. And now I can move on, I just have nine fingers to catch with now instead of 10. It's not a big deal."
Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt says he wishes his star player hadn't taken such drastic action.
"I know he probably wanted to cash in on his huge season last year and expand his marketability, but agreeing to be on the cover of Madden is not the answer. It's foolish. And it's dangerous," said Whisenhunt. "But I'm glad he only lost a finger in the end. That was smart of him to chop it off. I was worried and resigned to the fact that it would be much, much worse. I'll take a pinkie stump."
With his stump sitting against a bag of ice, a crude tourniquet tied around the base to stem the bleeding, Fitzgerald watched SportsCenter for any news on his fallen friend, Polamalu.
"I'll admit that I am a little surprised to learn that it's only an MCL sprain and that Troy should be back well before midseason," said Fitzgerald. "It seemed much worse at first. Maybe I, uh maybe I acted a bit rash. I'll admit. There may have been better options. Or maybe it would have been best had I just not done anything at all. You know, I wish I still had that pinkie to re-attach. I really do. But I chopped it up in the garbage disposal."