"He was the epitome of toughness, and I do everything I can to avoid contact."
Arizona Cardinals' Pro Bowl wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald spoke at the memorial service for Sen. John McCain today in Phoenix, Arizona, and described the meaningful friendship that was formed between the two men who came form very different worlds. Fitzgerald was reportedly asked by Cindy McCain, wife of the late senator, a few months ago to speak at the service after a visit to the McCain ranch in Cornville, Arizona.
During his speech, which came just before former Vice President Joe Biden, Fitzgerald offered some lighthearted comparisons between he and McCain.
"Many people might wonder what a young African-American kid from Minnesota and a highly decorated Vietnam hero turned United States senator might have in common," Fitzgerald said, according to ESPN. "Well, I thought of a few. I'm black. He was white. I'm young. He wasn't so young. He lived with physical limitations brought on by war. I'm a professional athlete. He ran for president. I run out of bounds. He was the epitome of toughness, and I do everything I can to avoid contact. I have flowing locks, and, well, he didn't."
Fitzgerald also discussed his need to visit Vietnam to see what McCain endured, telling the roughly 3,500 people in attendance, "I wanted to see the places where the will of John McCain was tested and forged," Fitzgerald said, according to ESPN. "I saw the lake. I walked the steps. I sat in the cell. And the ordeal that my friend survived became all the more real."
In addition to Fitzgerald, former Diamondbacks outfielder Luis Gonzalez and former Coyotes forward Shane Doan also served as pallbearers, according to ESPN.
Check out some footage of Fitzgerald's speech in the videos embedded below.