ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WIVB) – When Larry Fitzgerald was drafted third overall in 2004 by the Arizona Cardinals, Gabriel Davis was just five years old. In 2008 when Fitzgerald was playing in his first Super Bowl, Davis was nine.
And that was when Davis found his idol.
“I remember I was watching the Super Bowl when they played the Steelers and he caught that slant across the middle and took it deep for a big touchdown and I was like ‘man that was awesome, I want to do something like that, I want to be able to do something like that’. So that was when it first started,” Davis said.
Davis is now 21 and in his rookie season in the NFL and come this Sunday, he’ll get to play on the same field as Fitzgerald who is in his 17th season in the league.
“It’s just crazy to be able to, I mean that shows you how great of a player he is being in the league for so long, I mean I watched him since I was 9 years old so the fact that he’s been in the league and doing the things that he’s done for all these years and now I’m finally on the field with him ten-eleven plus years later is crazy, it’s crazy,” Davis explained.
All throughout his football career up until college, Davis wore number 11 in honor of Fitzgerald and got a chance to meet him when he was young but now they’ll get to meet again both playing at the highest-level.
“I just hope I don’t come as some big old fan boy, you know a guy we’re both doing the same thing, in the same position,” Davis laughed.
And it’s not just what Fitzgerald has done on the field that has gained league-wide respect but what he does off the field as well with his involvement with a number of charities and events including his own foundation called “First Down Fund” that supports various causes.
“I’ve seen what he’s done off the field with the military and things like that. My younger brother used to want to be in the military so I grew closer to something like that,” Davis said. “
“And then just how he is as a player you know he’s a bigger guy, he’s not the fastest but he’s been running great routes, he’s blocking, he’s physical , he’s an all-around great receiver so I feel like that’s my game. And I was able to relate to him as I grew up over the years when it came to playing football.”
Davis said if he gets the chance to talk to Fitzgerald before or after the game, he’ll tell him the positive affect he’s had on his career.
“That’s the type of impact I want to leave on people as well, the younger generation to have people come tell me I’m one of the reasons why they do what they do.”