Larry Fitzgerald got to know Senator John McCain well during his thirteen years with the Arizona Cardinals. Admittedly, the All-Pro wide receiver knew very little about politics but came to admire McCain’s commitment to bettering people’s lives and, in turn, the senator became an admirer of Fitzgerald’s excellence on the football field.
McCain, who died on Saturday at 81-years-old after a battle with brain cancer, will be memorialized in multiple events this week and Fitzgerald is one of six people scheduled to speak at one of the services, The Washington Post reports. Arizona sports figures, NHL great Shane Doan, who played 20 seasons with the Phoenix Coyotes, and Luis Gonzalez, who spent eight years of his MLB career with the Arizona Diamondbacks, will serve as pallbearers.
“Rest in peace to an American hero, statesman, servant of the people, and dear friend,” Fitzgerald wrote on Twitter underneath a photo of himself and McCain in Washington, D.C., looking over the National Mall toward the Washington Monument. “Godspeed Senator McCain. My prayers for Cindy and the beautiful McCain family.”
In a Sports Illustrated article last year, Fitzgerald authored a piece explaining his respect for McCain.
“I’m not much of a political guy, but I am fascinated with history and in particular learning about the impact war has had on so many lives,” Fitzgerald wrote. “I knew a few things about the senator just from playing in Arizona and getting to know him over the years. He is also an avid Cardinals fan and attends our games and practices from time to time, so our relationship has grown throughout my career.”