Larry Fitzgerald opens up on friendship with John McCain at late senator's memorial service

USATSI

When the world lost U.S. Sen. John McCain this week, Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald lost a friend.

On Thursday, Fitzgerald was among those who spoke at McCain's Phoenix-area memorial service, and he shared -- with some jokes -- how the two developed a mutual respect for each other despite obvious differences in their upbringing and appearance.

"Many people might wonder what a young African-American kid from Minnesota and a highly decorated Vietnam hero turned United States senator might have in common," he said. "Well ... I'm black. He's white. I'm young. He wasn't so young. He lived with physical limitations brought on by war. I'm a professional athlete. He ran for president. I run out of bounds. He was the epitome of toughness, and I do everything I can to avoid contact. I have flowing locks, and, well, he didn't."

Fitzgerald, who first met McCain as a rookie with the Cardinals, went on to say that the late senator "never judged others on the basis of their ethnicity, background or political affiliation," instead evaluating people "on the merits of their character and the contents of their hearts." As reported by CBS News, he added that McCain's own character is what fueled their friendship:

Fitzgerald said McCain "cared about the substance of my heart more so than where I came from," which (also) made him the "iconic figure in American politics" he is today.

"It was this approach to humanity," the 34-year-old Cardinals wideout continued, "that made Senator McCain so respected by countless people around the world, including me."

CBS This Morning has more on the relationship between McCain and Fitzgerald. Check out the clip here

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