The magic is over: Fitzpatrick confirms his retirement from the NFL

The magic is over: Fitzpatrick confirms his retirement from the NFL

BUFFALO, N.Y. ( Associated Press) — The magic is over.

Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick confirmed his retirement to The Associated Press in a text message Friday, ending a career that spanned 17 seasons, spanned nine teams and made him one of the NFL’s most unlikely and beloved adventurers.

It was a career of perseverance in which Fitzpatrick was never content to be a backup. With a cheery determination and a fearless style that is reflected in his unruly beard, the seventh-round draft pick out of Harvard overcame his physical limitations and modest college roots to become the first NFL player to throw four touchdown passes. in a single game with five different teams

Chan Gailey, who coached Fitzpatrick in three separate stints, called Fitzpatrick’s leadership ability “the best I’ve ever come across.”

“He is a fierce competitor. He is extremely smart. So he had answers for the players. And they always respect someone who provides answers,” Gailey said. “But he never boasted that he was smarter than anyone else. He was humbly smart.”

Fitzpatrick informed his former teammates of his decision on Thursday. Fred Jackson, a former running back for the Buffalo Bills, was the first to reveal on Twitter that the veteran quarterback planned to retire. Jackson shared an image of Fitzpatrick with the names of hundreds of teammates, along with the message: “Forever grateful for the magical journey.”

“Congratulations on a great run, Fitzy! I loved sharing the field with you!! Gratitude is all mine!!” Jackson wrote.

The last stop for Fitzpatrick, 39, was in Washington. Named the starting quarterback before last season, he suffered a hip injury in the team’s season-opening loss to the Los Angeles Chargers and never returned to the floor.

One blemish on his career: Fitzpatrick never made the playoffs. The closest he came was in 2015 with the New York Jets, who were eliminated from contention when he threw three fourth-quarter interceptions in a season-ending 22-17 home loss to the New York Bills. buffalo. The Jets finished that season with a 10-6 record, the best for a team with Fitzpatrick at quarterback.

Gailey was the Jets’ offensive coordinator that year and held the same role when Fitzpatrick was in Miami in 2020. He led the Dolphins to a 3-3 start before losing the starting job to then-rookie Tua Tagovailoa.

“He deserves better than what he received. He never made the playoffs. I hate that for him. He ate me up,” Gailey claimed. “And I thought we were going to make it in Miami. He had that team ready to blow up, and the trade was made at quarterback. I hated that for him. I really did. But he handled that with class just like he handled everything else with class.”

Fitzpatrick went 59-87-1 as a starter in a career that began in St. Louis in 2005, with other stints in Cincinnati, Tennessee, Houston and Tampa Bay. For a player initially considered more likely to land a Wall Street job than play in the NFL, Fitzpatrick ranks 32nd on the all-time list with 34,990 passing yards, 36th with 223 touchdown passes and 49th with 169 interceptions.

Always considered a backup, Fitzpatrick ended up becoming a starter—whether through injury or performance—for every team he played for.

That included Buffalo, where Fitzpatrick replaced Trent Edwards as the starter in 2010. That’s when he took on the FitzMagic moniker for leading an unnamed Gailey-coached team to a 5-2 start to the season in 2011. The Bills eventually collapsed. and finished with a 6-10 record.


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