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."