Arizona Cardinals’ wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald knows Anquan Boldin well, as do Cardinals’ fans.

Fitzgerald (2004) and Boldin (2003) were drafted in consecutive years and formed a strong bond during their time playing alongside one another in Arizona.

The bond goes beyond the football field as well, which is why Boldin’s recent retirement announcement hit home with Fitzgerald.

“It’s bittersweet,” Fitzgerald said. “He’s like a big brother to me. I wasn’t fortunate enough to have a big brother, but he was definitely that person to me.”

“I always messed with him,” Fitzgerald said (h/t ESPN). “I still always mess with him. I’m a habitual disturber of the peace. I definitely got a little bit of Anquan’s wrath.

“We always have a good time.”

Fitzgerald knows first hand the type of player that Boldin was and what he brought to the locker room and the field.

“There’s nobody you want in your foxhole or to have your back like,” Fitzgerald said.

“I wish we would’ve been able to play a little longer.”

Fitzgerald gushed about Boldin as a person too.

“Anquan does everything on parallels in terms of his personal life, his professional life, his philanthropic work,” Fitzgerald said.

“Everything is always done to the highest standard and he holds himself to that kind of expectation, no matter what he does as a father, as a husband.

“So when you see that — everything he does is done to the highest level — I need to be able to do stuff like that. I think that was the one thing that really always stood out to me, his level of excellence in everything he does and how much pride he took in what he was doing.”

“I’ve never played with anybody tougher,” Fitzgerald said. “He’s the most gritty, hard-nosed guy I’ve ever been around regardless of position. He’s just special in that way and, I don’t know, he might have broke the mold on that type of player.

“He was cut from a different cloth.”