Larry Fitzgerald will go down as one of the top pass catchers of all time and likely one of the most respected players of all-time in terms of gamesmanship, based on an interview given by someone he'll see a lot of in Week 1: Lions cornerback Darius Slay.
Slay said that Fitzgerald will offer corners advice in games as he's beating them.
"Like right in the middle of the game," Slay told the Detroit Free Press. "He caught it and got up like, 'Hey Slay, this is what you did.' I'm like, 'Oh, goodness.' ... I hope he don't remember and I hope I don't refresh his mind remembering that. But just in case I might try to do something a little different."
Slay didn't say specifically what play he was tipped on, for obvious reasons, but Fitzgerald said that Slay had a tell regarding what the Lions defense was going to do.
There are few things more demoralizing than being helped out by your opponent in the middle of a game, but if Larry Fitzgerald tells someone to do something, it might be in their best interest to listen. However, Fitzgerald's unique sense of gamesmanship doesn't stop at telling DBs how to cover him. He wants to dictate how they hit him too.
According to Lions safety Glover Quin, Fitzgerald said that he'd rather be hit high than at the knees, and he would help to pay their fines if they incurred any for hitting him in the head. It makes sense, to a degree, as knee injuries can be devastating for wide receivers. They've plagued superstar tight end Rob Gronkowski throughout his career because, to be frank, he's too huge to tackle high.
The sentiment of avoiding low hits at all costs is shared by NFL receivers, including Odell Beckham Jr., one of the league's most visible faces.
It's hard to find a happy medium, especially with the heavy emphasis on concussion protection throughout the NFL. Who knows if there's even a way to fix it without taking out or drastically reducing contact. Notoriously, when the Redskins' Brandon Meriweather was at his peak, he was either ramming people helmet-to-helmet or spearing their knees. There wasn't much of a way for him to bring people down otherwise. Obviously players don't want to lose their seasons to a knee injury; the problem is quality of life after football can be affected by head injuries.
Receivers have expressed their interest clearly, and if wideouts paying fines becomes some kind of trend it will definitely be tracked. But for right now, receivers may have to continue to assume the risk of having their legs taken out from under them.