Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald is a future Pro Football Hall of Fame. And even in his 13th season, he’s still one of the best wideouts in the league.
With that said, Fitz apparently feels that his play as of late, and the play of his team, has been a contributing factor to the health of his head coach. Cardinals’ head man Bruce Arians was sent to the hospital earlier this week complaining of chest pains. He was released and is fine, but it’s well worth noting that the event was the second one that saw him end up in the hospital this season. Stomach pains were the cause of his first trip back in August.
Arizona is 4-5-1 this season and second in the NFC West. The Cardinals aren’t terrible, but they certainly aren’t living up to expectations. They’ve lost two of their last three games, including a 30-24 loss to Minnesota that saw the Vikings take an interception 100-yards to the house. This Cordarrelle Patterson kickoff return for a touchdown also added to the frustration.
So no, it hasn’t been easy for Arizona as of late, and Fitzgerald thinks that may be weighing on his coach and impacting his health. Here’s what he told Paola Boivin of AZCentral.com:
“I think there’s a trend here,” the Cardinals wide receiver said Monday. “It’s stressful when we’re playing bad. We were 13-2 last year and he was feeling good. As a player, you feel partly responsible for what’s happened. A lot of that falls on our shoulders.”
Coaches aren’t known for having the most healthy work-life balance. They’re often obsessed with the job, and that’s the reason they’ve climbed so high up the coaching ladder. They’re all-consumed by football, and sometimes that’s a good thing.
The wins, well, they feel great.
The losses, though, they can take a toll on a coach, especially considering most NFL coaches aren’t necessarily in their primes.
Fitzgerald talked with Boivin about the tendency to lose sight of what’s important when in the middle of an up-and-down season. He stated that Arian’s hospitalization was a wake-up call.
“It makes you appreciate real life,” Fitzgerald said. “Obviously, (losing) in Minnesota, it sucked. … But we’re human beings. At the end of the day, we love Coach. We want to see him healthy and live a long, long life and that’s really what it’s about.”
Arians has been coaching football since 1975, when he started as a graduate assistant with Virginia Tech at age 23. He’s now 64 and in his first stint as an NFL head coach (not counting his time as interim head coach in Indianapolis in 2012). Arians has been with the Cardinals since 2013 and he boasts a 38-19 overall record with the team.