By Levan Reid, WBZ-TVBy Levan Reid

BOSTON (CBS) –  Earlier in the week, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick gave praise to Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald.

“He’s a great, great receiver; will go down as one of the all-time greats and might end up being the best one ever,” Belichick said Tuesday.

Well, Fitzgerald just returned the favor.  He told reporters that Belichick and his coaches talked to him at the 2004 combine, and he could see why the Pats have been so successful.

Now this weekend, Belichick will have to devise a plan to slow down the six-time Pro Bowler. The nine-year veteran had four receptions for 64 yards in the Cards’ 20-16 win over Seattle last weekend, but knows that this game will not be an easy one for him.

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“Playing against the Patriots defense there’s not much space to make any catches. I have to find space in that zone, space in that man,” Fitzgerald said. “Coach [Matt] Patricia does a terrific job of changing things up and disguising his coverages and I have to worry about that first and foremost; just being able to get in space and be able to get my hands on the ball before I can make any plays.

The last time the Cardinals came to Foxboro was in December 2008, with the Patriots beating Arizona soundly.  The 47-7 drubbing was an embarrassment and is still something that Fitzgerald remembers.

Read: Patriots-Cardinals Preview

“This is a team game. This is about the Arizona Cardinals as a unit playing much better than we did the last time we were in Foxboro,” he said. “There’s not a lot of guys on this team from the 2008 year, but we remember that butt-kicking we took up there in 2008 out there and that didn’t sit well with us then and four years later it still stings. We definitely want to go out there and have a much better performance.”

Follow Levan Reid on and on Twitter @LevanReid all Patriots’ season long!


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