Ryan Fitzpatrick says he decided to retire not less than a month before it was announced last week he would officially step away from the NFL.
Fitzpatrick, who played for nine teams in 17 seasons, says the hip injury suffered with the Washington Commanders within the 2021 season opener was a “blessing in disguise” into what life after football can be for him.
“It gave me a glimpse into the longer term of what retirement would appear to be – and it drove my wife crazy – but I feel it was a very good preview of what was to return,” Fitzpatrick said on the Adam Schefter podcast released Monday.
“I feel it was something that it was time. And I’m ready for it.”
So, what’s next for Fitzpatrick, some of the charismatic players in NFL history?
Coaching, beyond his seven kids, might not be in the image. But he would love to remain connected to the sport. NFL Network reported last week Fitzpatrick is in talks with Amazon to be a part of the league’s Thursday Night Football coverage.
“Now, I’ve got 17 years of NFL knowledge stored up in my mind and I just don’t want it to go to waste. I feel in one other life I’d love to educate, but in my life that I lead and that I’m in straight away with the children and all the things else, it’s a sacrifice I’m not willing to make at this point,” Fitzpatrick said.
“I would like to remain involved in the sport. Possibly the broadcasting, media side, we’ll see. But I feel like I even have more to provide and offer, and I feel it might be good to for me to share loads of the things I’ve seen and learned over time with people, with the viewing audience so we’ll see where we go from here.”
Fitzpatrick touched on several topics during his podcast appearance, including how the news of his retirement was initially shared by his former Buffalo Bills teammate Fred Jackson on social media.
Thanks for the memories
Fitzpatrick doesn’t have social media himself, and figured he may not have a standard retirement press conference because he played for thus many teams.
So he spent hours working together with his oldest son and wife to create a word cloud, featuring names of 856 teammates he played with in his profession.
Some teammates not listed on the opening day or final rosters might need missed the cut.
But Fitzpatrick thought creating and sharing the word cloud was “a pleasant way for me to say thanks and honor a bunch of my teammates and guys I loved twiddling with.”
“I got a text from Fred Jackson [Friday morning] that said, ‘Hey, didn’t think that may blow up prefer it did. Sorry when you didn’t want me to try this.’ And it was perfect,” Fitzpatrick said.
“Fred felt the necessity to post it and say thanks to me, which is the world we’re living in now. That happens on social media. And it caught a lifetime of its own. I used to be completely satisfied Fred was the one to do it.”
Fitzpatrick also plans to jot down thanks notes to the top coaches, offensive coordinators, quarterback coaches and quality control coaches he worked with through the years.
Fitzpatrick also shared a few of his favorite games, joking he needed to you should definitely mention the team due to what number of he played for during his profession.
- His first game with the Rams, a 33-27 additional time win over the Texans in 2005.
“It was crazy. It was absolutely crazy,” he said. “I had no idea what I used to be doing, and we go and are available back and win the sport in additional time.”
- A 49-31 Bills win over the Bengals in 2010, and a 37-31 Jets win over the Bills in 2016 were games during which Fitzpatrick felt “invincible” as a quarterback.
- A 34-31 Bills win over the Patriots in 2011 when Tom Brady didn’t shake his hand, and a 26-20 Jets win over the Patriots in 2015 where Fitzpatrick “got my hand shaked that game.”
- A 38-33 loss with the Buccaneers against the Cardinals, during which Fitzpatrick led a comeback down 31-0, but again realized his love for the sport following two tough seasons with the Jets.
- A 48-40 win with the Buccaneers to open the 2018 season, where Fitzpatrick cried after the sport. It was also the primary of a three-game stretch when he threw for 400 yards in each to start out the season.
“Nothing could go unsuitable. Every part hit. Every part was perfect,” he said.
- Two others with the Dolphins, where he led game-winning drives against the Patriots in a 27-24 win in 2019, and in Las Vegas in 2020 where he accomplished a pass down the sideline while his facemask was yanked to the side to place Miami in field-goal range.
“A few of these games are only fun to take into consideration. But loads of emotion goes into a few of these due to how difficult the profession was, and the way fun it was along the way in which,” Fitzpatrick said.
“The those who supported me the entire time. To find a way to share of those with them was so special.”
Now that he’s retired, Fitzpatrick says he and his family will move from Virginia to Arizona, while sprinkling some vacations this summer.
“I’m looking forward to only being dad for a little bit bit, after which determining what’s to return,” he said.
And don’t worry: the beard Fitzpatrick has develop into famous for sporting lately will proceed to be his trademark look.
“If I did shave it off, A: my kids can be pissed. And B: I can be nervous to see what it looks like under here. I can be anonymous,” Fitzpatrick said.
“Nevertheless it’s such a component of who I’m now that I couldn’t imagine doing it.”