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Larry Fitzgerald says many younger players don't appreciate NFL history

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Larry Fitzgerald prides himself on being a historian of the NFL.

As a child growing up in Minneapolis, Fitzgerald immersed himself in anything football-related. When his father, Larry Fitzgerald Sr., a sports writer, would bring home media guides, Larry Fitzgerald Jr. would read them from cover to cover, learning about everyone inside, from the owners to the trainers.

It gave him an appreciation for the game that he still holds as he enters his 14th NFL season at age 33. When Fitzgerald spent last weekend at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, that appreciation intensified as he took in the game’s history and reconnected with the game’s greats.

But, Fitzgerald is wary that the next generation of NFL players doesn't share his level of respect for the players who laid the groundwork for the benefits they now reap.

“I know all the players who have come before me and have a great respect for them,” Fitzgerald said. “I don’t know if the younger generation really knows or cares that much. It’s a completely different generation.

“You can take a young guy in there, they probably wouldn’t know 70 percent of the guys through there. I knew everybody from sight."

But Fitzgerald will admit, he’s not like most players.

“That’s just how I am, though,” he said. “My appreciation might be a little different than most.”