Ryan Fitzpatrick

What Convinced Ryan Fitzpatrick To Finally Hang Up His Cleats?

Journeyman and 17-year veteran quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick called it quits earlier this month after stints with nine different NFL franchises. Despite seasons here and there that saw him succeed as a starter in the NFL, the unselfish but competitive Harvard graduate kept his NFL tenure lengthy, sometimes accepting backup quarterback roles throughout his career, though usually in places where there was an opportunity for him to push the starter for playing time. After continuing this trend over 17 years, what finally convinced Fitzpatrick to hang up his cleats? According to Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated, there were three main factors that helped him decide it was time to walk away

The first factor in his decision: health. Set to be the starting quarterback for the Washington Football Team last year, Fitzpatrick saw his season come to an unfortunately early end as he suffered a hip subluxation that was expected to hold him off the field for only part of the season.

“The initial thought was six to eight weeks because I had a torn labrum,” Fitzpatrick explained, “but after additional scans, four weeks after the injury, there was a lot more there that was a lot scarier than just the labrum.” 

Fitzpatrick’s hip injury was much more serious than initially thought. He had started to develop avascular necrosis, the death of bone tissue due to a lack of blood supply. Seeing the severity and seriousness of playing a dangerously physical game at this point in his life gave him reasons to start planning for an end, while he could still “do stuff with (his) kids.”

Speaking of his kids, the second factor in his retirement is a common one for most people: family. Fitzpatrick has seven children ranging over eleven years. His youngest is only an infant while his oldest is headed into his sophomore year of high school. Between the three boys and four girls that call him “Dad,” there are likely a litany of activities for Fitzpatrick to attend, and he intends to. Fitzpatrick also lamented that the other eight members of his family moved with him every time he changed jerseys, aside from his time in Miami. He explained, “Moving every year, it’s just getting harder and harder, and, at some point, it’s not gonna be fair to them as they get older.”

Lastly, while we touched on his unselfishness and willingness to take a backseat, Fitzpatrick always wanted to be in a situation where, at the very least, there was a chance he could start. He was willing to compete in a position battle and sometimes found himself on the losing end of such battles, but he started games for every franchise he joined. That was not a coincidence; it was by design. The third main factor that contributed to his decision: a lack of opportunities.

There was a chance that Fitzpatrick could have been lured back to the game, but, in order for him to continue playing, he wanted to go to a franchise that was signing him with the intention for him to start, like he did last year for Washington. Unfortunately for Fitzpatrick, that call never came. While there are teams that could certainly use an upgrade at quarterback, those teams are much more likely to look into younger, healthier options. While he was working towards getting healthier, Fitzpatrick wasn’t getting any younger, and that made it less and less likely that his phone was going to ring with the opportunity he desired.

Health, family, and competition. These were factors that, for 17 years, helped him put together an impressive football legacy for a seventh-round pick out of Harvard. However, eventually these factors would nudge him in another direction.

According to Fitzpatrick, “The combination of those three factors made it a pretty easy decision.” 

Ryan Fitzpatrick Planning To Retire

After 17 seasons, Ryan Fitzpatrick looks set to retire. The veteran quarterback texted former teammates, including ex-Bills running back Fred Jackson, who shared Fitz’s intentions via Twitter.

Amazon is negotiating a deal with the exiting QB, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Fitzpatrick’s 17th season only featured a handful of snaps in Washington’s Week 1 game, which included a season-ending hip injury. But the Harvard grad left an imprint on the game.

He is the only quarterback in NFL history to have started for nine different teams. No other QB has started for more than seven. The 39-year-old passer, despite being a seventh-round pick, will exit the NFL having started for the Rams, Bengals, Bills, Titans, Texans, Jets, Buccaneers, Dolphins and Washington. Stretches as a backup ensued, and an earned rollercoaster reputation followed Fitzpatrick, but the former 250th overall pick continued to deliver NFL relevance into his late 30s.

What looks like the NFL’s final Fitzmagic dose occurred late in the Dolphins’ 2020 season, when the bearded vet pulled off a game-winning drive in relief of Tua Tagovailoa in Las Vegas. During the second of his two Bucs seasons (2018), Fitz averaged 9.6 yards per attempt. That remains tied for eighth-best in a season in NFL history — behind only Kurt Warner among post-merger QBs. While that figure formed during a seven-start season, that form helped the popular passer stay a viable option to take snaps into the twilight of his career.

Financially, Fitz did quite well for himself. Even after the Bills bailed on his most notable contract — a six-year, $59MM extension in 2011 — in 2013, he collected a few other nice checks on short-term deals. After Fitzpatrick broke Vinny Testaverde‘s 17-year-old Jets record for single-season touchdown passes, tossing 31 in 2015, Gang Green gave him a one-year, $12MM deal after an offseason impasse. The Dolphins signed Fitz to a two-year, $11MM pact in 2019, and Washington upped that price by inking the then-38-year-old QB to a one-year accord worth $10MM. Despite only playing 16 snaps last season, Fitz collected every penny.

After backing up Marc Bulger and Carson Palmer in St. Louis and Cincinnati, respectively, Fitzpatrick broke through in Buffalo. Taking over for a Bills team that had tried J.P. Losman and Trent Edwards for a fairly lengthy stretch, Fitz started 53 games for the Bills from 2009-12. None of those seasons produced a winning record, however, during the Bills’ near-two-decade-long playoff drought. The Titans and Texans then bolted on two-year contracts after one season apiece.

The Jets brought in Fitz in 2015, after Geno Smith had started two seasons. Backup linebacker I.K. Enemkpali punching Smith in the locker room likely altered his backup’s career trajectory. Fitzpatrick stepped in for a team rostering Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker and tallied a career-high 3,905 passing yards to go with the 31 TD throws. This produced the Jets’ most successful season of the past decade, a 10-6 campaign. While Fitz struggled in a crucial season finale, he re-established himself as a starter option.

Following his surprisingly explosive Jameis Winston fill-in season, which featured some memorable press conference attire, Fitzpatrick led a woeful 2019 Dolphins roster to five wins — something that produced a major NFL controversy years later — and concluded that season with a stunning upset in New England. That result game gave the Chiefs a first-round bye, catalyzing the eventual champions’ Super Bowl LIV push.

For his career, Fitz finishes with 34,990 passing yards (32nd all time), 223 touchdown passes (36th) and 169 INTs. This somewhat amazingly never translated to a single playoff appearance in 17 years, with his starter record 59-87-1. But this sub-.500, regular-season-only run certainly generated considerable attention and delivered a host of memorable moments.

Washington Extends Charles Leno

Charles Leno has certainly bounced back since the Bears released him in May, as he’s agreed to a new three-year deal with the Football Team worth $37.5MM, according to tweets from NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo and Ian Rapoport.

Leno was a seventh-round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft for the Bears and signed a four-year, $38MM extension in 2017. Leno was named an alternate for the 2019 Pro Bowl, but was released just two years later this past May.

After being released, the eight-year veteran signed a one-year deal with Washington worth $4MM. The prove-it contract was a worthwhile gamble as Leno’s new deal is his biggest yet in terms of annual value. Washington benefitted from the gamble, as well, as Leno earned the 3rd best pass blocking grade among all tackles in the league thus far this season, according to Pro Football Focus.

Whether Washington plans to stick with Taylor Heinicke or Ryan Fitzpatrick at quarterback next year or if they choose to draft a young star from the 2021 NFL Draft crop, the Football Team has locked down their blindside tackle for the next three years.

WFT’s Ryan Fitzpatrick Done For Year

Ryan Fitzpatrick‘s season is over. The Washington Football Team quarterback will have arthroscopic surgery on his hip, officially capping his 2021 campaign (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport). 

[RELATED: Latest On WFT’s Logan Thomas]

Fitzpatrick played in just one game before suffering a hip subluxation in the season opener against the Chargers. In total, his season lasted less than 30 minutes.

This could be the end of the line for the 39-year-old passer, who has to focus on basic mobility before even thinking about football conditioning. He’ll also be out of contract in March, after the expiration of his one-year, $10 million deal. If this is the end of Fitzpatrick’s NFL career, he’ll leave the game with 166 career appearances (147 starts) and a ton of memorable moments to trump his lifetime 59-87-1 record.

Without FitzMagic, Washington has installed Taylor Heinicke as the starter. Heinicke hasn’t dazzled, but he does have WFT at the .500 mark and in the playoff conversation. They’ll look to gain ground on Sunday when they host the division-leading Cowboys.

Latest On WFT QB Ryan Fitzpatrick

Ryan Fitzpatrick‘s 2021 season will have lasted for less than 30 minutes. The veteran quarterback, who signed with the Washington Football Team this offseason, suffered a hip subluxation in the first half of the club’s Week 1 loss to the Chargers, and as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com writes, Fitzpatrick is expected to miss the rest of the year.

The soon-to-be 39-year-old passer landed on IR immediately after the Chargers game, and the most recent reports indicated that he could be back for this week’s matchup with the Bucs. Unfortunately, his recovery has not gone as well as hoped.

Per Rapoport, Fitzpatrick is still dealing with pain and swelling, and he cannot begin rehab on the injury until that pain and swelling subside. Until then, his recovery is focused exclusively on treatment, and not a return to game shape. His most recent MRI did show some improvement, but it sounds as if he is a long way away from even thinking about getting back on the field.

And, given his advanced age, it’s fair to wonder if this is it for one of the most likable players in recent memory. The hirsute and well-traveled signal-caller has enjoyed a long and productive career for a seventh-round Ivy Leaguer, and while he has never been a top-tier quarterback, his longevity is indicative of how much clubs value his presence. He has appeared in 166 games in his career (147 starts), and though his 59-87-1 record as a starter leaves much to be desired, he has generally been good enough to at least keep his often talent-deficient teams competitive.

As for WFT, the club will continue to forge ahead with Taylor Heinicke under center for the rest of the year. Heinicke has not been able to recapture the magic that nearly resulted in an upset of the eventual Super Bowl champion Buccaneers in last year’s playoffs, and he is clearly not the long-term solution for Washington. WFT will once again be on the lookout for QB help this offseason.

NFC East Notes: Giants, Gregory, Fitzpatrick

Jabrill Peppers‘ torn ACL will keep him sidelined for the rest of the 2021 campaign, and considering his expiring contract, there’s a chance his stint with the Giants has effectively come to an end. However, head coach Joe Judge kept the door open when speaking with reporters on Wednesday.

“Look, this guy is in a contract year, it’s something I’ve talked to him about directly,” Judge said (h/t to Josh Alper of ProFootballTalk.com). “He’s a guy that I value a lot in this program. I’d love to have this guy going forward, I’ve told him that directly. He’s been a very good leader for us. You can talk about him being local, that the Giants mean something to him. I think that’s very important. He’s a guy that loves football, he loves this organization, he loves this area. Those are things we talk about building as cornerstones and pillars of this program and he’s a very important part of our program.”

The safety started five of his six games this season, compiling 29 tackles and one sack. Considering Peppers’ contract status, his reduced playing time, and continued trade rumblings, there was a chance the veteran would be traded prior to his injury. The ACL injury certainly changed things, and Peppers could pursue a comeback with his current team.

More notes out of the NFC East…

  • With the Giants sitting at 2-5, it wouldn’t be a surprise if several Giants veterans end up hitting the trade block. Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.tv explored which players could be on the move, with tight end Evan Engram, cornerback James Bradberry, guard Will Hernandez, tight end Kyle Rudolph, and offensive tackle Nate Solder earning spots on the list. Vacchiano even goes as far as to list running back Saquon Barkley as a potential trade candidate, but he can’t envision the Giants receiving a haul that would convince them to bail on the former second-overall pick.
  • Randy Gregory has dealt with his fair share of suspensions, but the former Cowboys second-round pick followed an impressive 2020 campaign with an even better start to the 2021 season. In five games (four starts), Gregory has collected four sacks. The 28-year-old will hit free agency following the 2021 season, but David Moore, Calvin Watkins, and Michael Gehlken of The Dallas Morning News all believe that the defensive end will be back next season. Moore notes that the team wouldn’t have held on to Gregory for all these years if they didn’t plan on a long-term pact, while Watkins cautions that the franchise tag could prove to be a risky move considering Gregory’s limited track record.
  • There was once some hope that Ryan Fitzpatrick would be back by now, but NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport writes that Washington Football Team will have to wait a bit longer. The 38-year-old is still weeks away from returning, with Week 10 being the earliest possible return for the starting quarterback. Fitzpatrick suffered a hip subluxation back in September, forcing Taylor Heinicke into the lineup.

WFT’s Taylor Heinicke Could Keep Starting Job

Taylor Heinicke might be here to stay. The Washington quarterback has a real chance to keep his grip on the starting role, according to sources who spoke with NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport

Heinicke will start on Sunday afternoon against the Bills in place of Ryan Fitzpatrick, who is dealing with a painful hip subluxation. Fitz, who has been placed on injured reserve, could be able to return by mid-November. But, depending on how things go in the coming weeks, the veteran could wind up holding the clipboard for the former UDFA.

The Old Dominion product helped the WFT top the Giants in his first start this year. In that game, Heinicke completed 34 of 46 of his throws for 336 yards and two touchdowns against one interception.

Just a few weeks ago, there was talk of Ron Rivera pursuing old pal Cam Newton. Now, Washington seems especially high on Heinicke. With Kyle Allen as his safety net, he’ll try to advance WFT to 2-1 today.

WFT To Place Ryan Fitzpatrick On IR

It was the fear yesterday, but now it’s official. Washington quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick suffered a hip subluxation during the team’s loss to the Chargers on Sunday, head coach Ron Rivera confirmed. The veteran is expected to miss the next six to eight weeks, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter).

Rivera announced that Fitzpatrick will be placed on injured reserve, sidelining him for at least the next three games. That means that it’ll be Taylor Heinicke under center when Washington takes the field in just a few days for a Thursday Night Football game against the Giants. It also means it’ll be Heinicke leading the team for the foreseeable future. If there’s any good news, it’s that Ian Rapoport of NFL Network tweets that there’s “no indication yet that it’s season ending.”

Rivera said Fitzmagic is getting second opinions to determine the severity. For now it’ll be Kyle Allen backing up Heinicke. Washington is coming off a division title and had high expectations for this season, leading many to speculate they could look to add a veteran signal-caller.

Recently release Cam Newton, of course, is very well acquainted with Rivera from their days in Carolina together, although it looks like for now the plan is to roll with Heinicke and see how he fares. Beat reporters at the press conference say Rivera was firm about staying in-house for now. If the former UDFA struggles, then it wouldn’t be surprising for Washington to look outside the building.

It’s a tough blow for Fitz, who was injured in the first half of the first game with his new team. He’ll turn 39 in November, so it’s fair to wonder how easy of a recovery this will be for him. Here’s to hoping he gets back as soon as possible.

Hip Injury For WFT’s Ryan Fitzpatrick

Ryan Fitzpatrick is believed to have suffered a hip subluxation (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport). The Washington quarterback will know more after a Monday morning MRI, but the training staff is hopeful that nothing was broken.

Fitzpatrick was forced out in the second quarter against the Chargers on Sunday. Taylor Heinicke took over in his stead, completing 11-for-15 passes for 122 yards and a touchdown. Ultimately, that wasn’t enough for the WFT — the Bolts walked away with a 20-16 win.

Heinicke hasn’t started a regular-season game since the end of 2018, but he’s on track to be first string in Week 2. Of course, he also managed 306 yards and a touchdown against the Bucs in the playoffs. They’ll be facing the Giants, who are coming off of a 27-13 loss to the Broncos.

Fitzpatrick, now 38, led the Dolphins to a 9-11 record in 20 starts between 2019 and 2020. He completed 64.2% of his passes in that span, throwing for 5,620 yards, 33 touchdowns, and 21 interceptions. He also continued to produce on the ground, finishing with 150 rushing yards for the 10th time in the past 13 seasons. Washington is hoping for more FitzMagic, pending tomorrow’s MRI.

Cowboys, Washington Out On Cam Newton

Cam Newton being cut for a second straight year may produce another lengthy free agency stay. Neither the Cowboys nor Washington appear to be interested in adding the former MVP.

Following Newton’s New England exit, Ron Rivera said a reunion with the eight-plus-year Panthers starting quarterback popped up on his radar. But the second-year Washington HC was quick to indicate Ryan Fitzpatrick is his starter, via Nicki Jhabvala of the Washington Post (on Twitter). Rivera added Washington will move forward with Fitz, Taylor Heinicke and Kyle Allen. Dallas followed suit, with Mike McCarthy adding the Cowboys are “pleased with the group” they have (via NFL.com’s Andrew Siciliano, on Twitter).

The Cowboys cut Garrett Gilbert and Ben DiNucci this week but claimed former Panthers third-round pick Will Grier, who joins Cooper Rush as Dallas’ QBs behind Dak Prescott. Considering Prescott’s season-ending ankle injury and the shoulder issue that emerged early in this year’s camp, the Cowboys having a proven backup would make sense. It just does not seem like they want to add Newton.

You know, most people in the NFL that are even in the personnel area I think have Cam Newton evaluated, and his pluses and his minus. You know, [former Cowboys OC] Norv Turner did a great job … when he was coordinator [in Carolina] with Cam Newton. So, I think he’s no secret as to what he does and does well,” Jerry Jones said, during an appearance on 105.3 The Fan (via Pro Football Talk), when asked if he spoke with Bill Belichick about Newton.

And of course he was basically able to be evaluated if you want to look at it playing games and results and all of that as an evaluation. Cam Newton is not playing because everybody has evaluated it and they’re making a decision. … We were very, very easy to evaluate Cam.”

Newton, 32, lost the Patriots’ QB1 job to Mac Jones and is not only coming off a rough 2020 season but a general decline over the past several years. The 2015 MVP ranked 29th in cumulative Total QBR from 2016-19; a foot injury capped the last of those seasons at two games. The other two quarterbacks who saw time on that 2019 Carolina squad — Grier and Allen — join fellow ex-Newton teammate Heinicke in representing three-fourths of Dallas and Washington’s reserve QBs.

The Ravens have second-year UDFA Tyler Huntley as Lamar Jackson‘s lone active-roster backup, and Newton certainly would not pose a threat to Jackson’s job were the historically productive running quarterback to land with the game’s best active ball-carrying QB. But nothing has emerged on that front. It would make sense now if Newton waits for an injury to clear a path for a potential job.