Larry Fitzgerald exposed

Go behind the scenes on the making of ESPN The Magazine's 2014 Body Issue featuring Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald

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I'm kind of shy, to be honest. If I go to the pool or something, I keep my shirt on unless I'm getting in the water.

I just want to be able to get back to the Super Bowl again. That's what gets you up in the morning. That's what lets you sleep good at night -- knowing that you worked your tail off that day.

My hair is a silent tribute to my mom. She passed away 11 years ago from breast cancer. She was always fond of my hair when I grew it out in high school. Every day I wake up in the morning, I can say, "Mom, I'm going to go out there and attack the day to the best of my ability." Her voice is still on my voice mail. Her [driver's] license is always with me -- I keep it close at all times.

I've gotten [my hair] pulled a couple of times, but nothing intentional. I try not to let anyone catch me from behind.

If you play football, there's going to be a 100 percent injury rate. Something is going to be bothering you. So I just try to focus on the things that I can do to help my team.

I never set out to intimidate the rest of the league with my [offseason] training. I just want to make sure that I'm getting myself in shape and making sure that I'm ready for the rigors of the year. The guys that are up there with me are doing the same.

My reaction time is just a gift I've had since I was younger. My dad would tell me at 2 or 3 years old I was catching balls with one hand. I've always had a little bit superior hand-eye coordination to everyone else I was competing against.

I was fortunate to have a grandfather who was an optometrist. Vision therapy was something that we routinely did to strengthen our eyes and give us better focus. I was fortunate that he could teach me techniques that are still paying dividends for me to this day.

Chess is a lot of fun for me. Football is a physical game, and in chess you can just beat someone mentally -- you outwit somebody, outmaneuver them, think ahead of them.

Some of the best chess players in the world are in prison. They have nothing but time on their hands and are really talented. I'm very good at chess, and the last teammate I used to play with all the time was Edgerrin James. We had some epic battles back in the day. He had a couple relatives that were incarcerated -- so that's how he got good. But there's nobody else I can really play with now.

I'll be walking through the mall and someone will just grab my butt. I look back and it's, like, some 65-year-old lady doing it. I'm like, "Ma'am, what are you doing?" "Uh, I just wanted to see what was there."

I'm kind of shy, to be honest. If I go to the pool or something, I keep my shirt on unless I'm getting in the water.`

A lot of football is really mental. The guy across from you probably went to a big Division I school just like you did, was drafted in the first round just like you were. What really separates you is being able to dig deep and being able to mentally focus when you are tired, when it's hot, when you are hurt; these are the things that you have to be able to push yourself through.

You always have to work on your grip. Every day after practice I put gloves on -- they are these really tight, stiff mitts, and they make you work extremely hard to close and open your hands. It strengthens my hands, especially the thumbs -- your thumbs are really what control your grip.

I think Floyd Mayweather might have some of the quickest hands that boxing has ever seen. But he's always working on getting quicker. You always have to strive to improve.

Flexibility doesn't come naturally to me. You have to be strong, flexible and extremely durable. I'm constantly working on range of motion. When the ball is thrown up high, you have to go up high to get it -- and when Earl Thomas is bearing down on you, you have to be strong in your core -- first to catch the ball and then to be able to deal with the blows that come with it.

If I'm catching a football upside down with one hand in a game, then something went completely wrong.

That initial five-yard burst of explosiveness is the most essential part of the wide receiver/defensive back battle. Especially in press coverage. When a guy is pressing you at the line who is strong ... like if Patrick Peterson or Darrelle Revis is lining up at the point of attack with you, if you are quick enough to beat them, that dictates everything.

There's nothing more gratifying than seeing your competition break. You can see them with their hands on their knees, gasping for air, hurting.

I'm obsessed with my craft. I just want to squeeze every single drop out of the lemon that I possibly can. I don't want to have any regrets, and to this point I can sleep at night.

Richard Phibbs

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