Longtime NFL QB Fitzpatrick confirms retirement

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Ryan Fitzpatrick, the Harvard-trained quarterback who brought his “FitzMagic” to the NFL for nine teams spanning 17 seasons, confirmed his retirement to the Associated Press in a text message Friday.

Fitzpatrick, popular throughout his career with his teammates and known for his productive beard, previously announced the announcement Thursday in a text message to his former teammates, and former Bills runback Fred Jackson was the first to reveal on Twitter that veteran QB planned to retreat.

Jackson shared a photo of Fitzpatrick with the names of hundreds of teammates along with the message: “Eternally grateful for the magical ride.”

Jackson responded by writing, “Congratulations on a Helluva career, Fitzy! Loved sharing the field with you! Gratitude is mine!”

Fitzpatrick, 39, suffered a hip subluxation that ended the season in the second quarter of the Washington Commanders’ season-opening loss to the Los Angeles Chargers in September and had to undergo arthroscopic surgery.

He had signed a $ 10 million one-year deal with Washington in March 2021.

In 17 seasons, Fitzpatrick started 147 games and threw in 34,990 yards and 223 touchdowns with 169 interceptions. He began his career as a draft pick in the seventh round of St. Louis. Louis Rams in 2005, and he also played for the Cincinnati Bengals, Buffalo Bills, Tennessee Titans, Houston Texans, New York Jets, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Miami Dolphins, and Washington during his career.

He started games for all nine teams, which is an NFL record among quarterbacks. However, Fitzpatrick never made it to the playoffs during his career. The closest he came was in 2015 with the Jets, who were eliminated from the game when he threw three interceptions in the fourth quarter in a season-ending loss of 22-17 in Buffalo. The Jets finished that season 10-6, the best record for a team with Fitzpatrick below center.

Chan Gailey was the Jets’ offensive coordinator that year and had 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 rookie Tua Tagovailoa.

“He deserves better than he got. He never reached the playoffs. I hate it for him. It consumed me,” Gailey said. “And I thought we were going to make it in Miami. He had the team ready to explode and the change was made at quarterback. I hated it for him. I really did. But he made it with the class just like he made everything else with the class.”

Gailey, who trained Fitzpatrick at three separate stops, called Fitzpatrick’s leadership skills “the best I’ve been around.”

“He’s a tough competitor. He’s extremely smart. So he had answers for the players. And players always respect someone who has answers,” Gailey said. “But he never ruled over them, that he was wiser than all the others. He was humbly wise.”

Fitzpatrick spent most years of his career, starting most games in Buffalo, playing 20-33 in 53 regular season starts over four seasons with the Bills from 2009 to 2012. In 2010, despite not starting the year as a starting quarterback, Fitzpatrick threw after 3,000 yards and became the first Bills quarterback to do so in a season since JP Losman in 2006.

He was ultimately unable to hold on as a long-term starter with the Bills and endured a nine-year stretch with losing seasons. In his Bills career, he threw 80 touchdown passes and had 64 interceptions.

While his time in Buffalo is long gone, Fitzpatrick has remained a favorite among Bills fans. He participated in the team’s AFC wild-card playoff victory over the New England Patriots in January, watching from the stands and posing shirtless in freezing temperatures and strong winds.

ESPN’s Alaina Getzenberg and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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