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Fitzgerald's 'Ode to Arizona' letter is perfect

Posted at 7:04 PM, Jan 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-20 08:06:05-05

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald is from Minnesota -- but in an open letter to Cards fans via The Players' Tribune, the future Hall of Famer made it perfectly clear: Arizona is his home, and Cardinals fans are his family.

"I feel like I’ve been through so much with this team and this city. In so many ways, we’ve grown together," Fitzgerald wrote in the letter called "Ode to Arizona" published Tuesday. 

"When I was first drafted, this was the place where I played football. Now, it’s my home. It’s where my family lives. It’s where I’ve created a life."

The 32-year-old Fitzgerald went on to write about what the growing Cardinals fan base means to him -- including those who have rooted for the team since it arrived in the Valley in 1988 and suffered through nearly two decades of losing seasons.

He wrote about what his teammates mean to him, including injured safety Tyrann Mathieu. He wrote about the pain of being on the verge of the franchise's first Super Bowl title in 2009, only to fall short in the final minute.

And he wrote about what the city of Phoenix and the state of Arizona mean to him, and how he believes his team is something that born-and-raised AZ residents and transplants alike can rally around.

"Not many people realize that Phoenix is now the sixth-largest city in the United States," Fitzgerald wrote. "As this place grows (and grows, and grows), I think it’s important for there to be something that unites everybody, from the recent transplants to the native Arizonans who have lived here their entire lives.

"I want the Cardinals to be that thing. I want the Cardinals to be a team that you’re proud to root for and can’t wait to watch play. I want the entire state to always be itching for gameday to arrive."

Fitzgerald has made it clear on more than one occasion that he won't consider his career complete until he wins a Super Bowl ring.

He reiterated that point in the closing paragraphs of his Ode to Arizona.

"There’s still work to be done -- but we’re getting there. In fact, I think there’s only one, large, final box left for us to check off: Win a Super Bowl. Nothing less," he wrote.

"We have the ownership to do it. We have the coaching staff to do it. We have the players to do it. And I know we have the state to do it. So let’s do it."