The winding career of Ryan Fitzpatrick looked to trail off after the 2013 season. He’d just wrapped up a season with the Tennessee Titans a year after being cut from the Buffalo Bills. He began questioning the longevity of his career as he drove back to Nashville, from his home in Gilbert, Arizona.
Nick Hale, one of Fitzpatrick’s former high school football teammates, was along for the ride and asked his longtime friend if he would be happy with his NFL career if he never played another game.
“Yeah. Absolutely I’d be happy with my career,” Fitzpatrick told Hale. “When I got drafted, I just wanted a jersey. Once they gave me the jerseys, like, I was just hoping that they kept me on the team.
“I could probably move my family one more time,” he continued. “I’ll probably retire after that.”
That moment is currently only the halfway mark in Fitzpatrick’s surprising NFL career. He has since played one season with the Houston Texans, two fiery seasons with the New York Jets, two seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and now heads into his second year with the Miami Dolphins.
“I definitely thought that was probably closer to the tail end of my career than the midpoint,” Fitzpatrick says now. “But it’s worked out well.”
Fitzpatrick knows the 2020 season will be different. The Dolphins drafted Tua Tagovailoa in the first round, and Fitzpatrick has already called the young quarterback to offer his intellect. With all that experience, all that knowledge built up over his career, Fitzpatrick doesn’t want it to go to waste. He wants the young QBs in Miami to learn the good and bad from him.