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Glover Quin says Larry Fitzgerald requests not to be hit in legs

ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Lining up against Larry Fitzgerald leads to a lot of things. Players know they might get advice. They might get a hand helping them up after a play. And, apparently, they also might get some instruction.

Detroit Lions safety Glover Quin said Wednesday that the Arizona Cardinals receiver requests, if you have a pretty clean shot on him, that you don't aim low. Aim high.

"He's big on don't hit him low, hit him high," Quin said. "He'll tell you on the field, like, 'Hey, bro, I'll pay your fine for you. Like, don't hit me in the legs.' He'll rather you hit him up high. Don't take his legs, because obviously you need your legs to run."

On Thursday, Fitzgerald dodged questions about Quin's comments, saying "I don't really like to talk about what happens in between the lines."

"I have a lot of respect for Glover," Fitzgerald added. "He's a Pro Bowl player. He was rewarded this offseason with another extension, and he's a great player and somebody I have great deal of respect for."

Quin has faced Fitzgerald three times in the regular season since he came to Detroit in the 2013 season. It came up because of a 2014 game the Lions played against Arizona, in which Fitzgerald sprained his MCL on a hit from Quin.

Quin recalled Fitzgerald running a corner route and hitting him, forcing him to drop the ball and eventually leave the game. Quin said Fitzgerald thought Quin hit him in his knees. Quin said he hit him in his hip, but the way Fitzgerald had been running combined with the collision caused the MCL injury.

"He thought I had gave him a dirty shot, but I'm like, 'Dawg, I didn't hit you dirty,'" Quin said. "'I hit you in your hips. Your leg just kind of gave.' But like I said, we go at it all the time."

Quin said he's pretty sure he's not the only defensive back Fitzgerald has said that to in his career, offering them a "Hey, man, don't take my knees out." Quin made sure to clarify he doesn't mean on rote tackles but on bigger shots that could tear a player's knees up. Quin said defensive backs will take the lower hit because the higher the hit, the higher a chance for a fine.

He didn't know, though, if the 34-year-old Fitzgerald had ever paid an opponent's fine because of it.

Quin doesn't like when Fitzgerald offers to help him up, either. While it may be something about Fitzgerald trying to be nice, it could be a mental game, too.

"I don't know, that's kind of just like a shot at me or something," Quin said. "Like you tackle me, but I'm going to help you up. Like, 'Nah, don't help me up,' you know what I'm saying. That's kind of how I see it.

"I've played against Fitzgerald a few times and he's cool. Every time we play, we talk."

There is a level of respect the Lions' defensive backs have for Fitzgerald, who has 1,125 career receptions for 14,389 yards and 104 touchdowns. All of those numbers are in the league's top 10 all-time. They consider him a potential Hall of Famer, and they look at his production as a matter of survival and talent.

"You look at it as one of those situations of a guy that can handle the transition," Quin said. "Obviously to play this long and at this high of a level, pretty sure he does a lot of things to take care of his body. If you don't have your body working for you, you just can't play.

"But he's always been a smart guy and pretty sure in that he learned to play on the outside, he learned to play on the inside. So early in his career, when he's young Larry Fitzgerald, he plays on the outside and probably plays some on the inside as well. And then the older you get, he just learned how to play on the inside and still be highly effective."

And he also learned to at least ask for opponents to be mindful of his knees.