Larry Fitzgerald left Pitt after only two seasons back in 2003. This weekend, 13 years later, he finally secured his college degree, graduating from The University of Phoenix.
Last year, the receiver described to the Arizona Republic what going to school meant for the memory of his mother.
"I feel blessed to have had her for 19 years, and she was around long enough to shape me into the man I am today," Fitzgerald explained at the time. "But I'm sad at the fact that she busted her ass for so many years so I could live my dream, and she never saw the things I could've given her. That hurts.
"But I know when I'm out doing things in the community, she would be proud, because who I am now is a result of lessons she taught me when I had her."
Fitz made the promise to his mom, who also passed away in 2003, that he would eventually return to school and complete his degree. He majored in Communications.
Since leaving Pitt, Fitzgerald has been the model of consistency in the NFL with the Arizona Cardinals, recognized both for his steady stream of off-field contributions as well as producing at an elite level for many years. At 32 his best seasons are behind him, but he's still a very capable player.
Sportrac states that the former Pitt star has made over $100 million in his career, so let's be honest here - he likely won't be needing the degree to earn a living after football. But it's a neat side story in the offseason that he honored the promise he made to his mother and it sets an incredible example to student athletes that they shouldn't neglect the education they're given. If someone that has made it as a pro sees value in it, then current athletes in college should since the majority of them won't be playing professionally.
Just another of example of Fitzgerald serving as a positive role model.