Ryan Fitzpatrick retires after 17-year career in NFL


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Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick is retiring, ending a 17-year NFL career that spanned nine teams and included a brief stint in Washington, a person with knowledge of the situation confirmed Thursday.

The decision was made public when former Buffalo Bills teammate Fred Jackson tweeted a screenshot of a text message from Fitzpatrick.

“Forever grateful for the magical ride,” the message read.

Fitzpatrick, 39, who became a fan favorite for his distinctive beard and trademark antics, is in talks to join Amazon’s NFL coverage as he enters retirement, the person confirmed, although his exact role is unclear.

The Harvard graduate was the last quarterback selected in the 2005 draft, when the St. Louis Rams chose him in the seventh round with the 250th pick. He would pass for more touchdowns than any quarterback in that draft class except for Aaron Rodgers.

After cycling through four starting quarterbacks in 2020, Washington signed Fitzpatrick to a one-year deal worth up to $12 million, with the hope that his experience would stabilize the offense while Coach Ron Rivera and his staff continued to develop the roster and build around the quarterback position. But Fitzpatrick suffered a partially dislocated right hip in Washington’s Week 1 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers and was later placed on injured reserve for the rest of the 2021 season.

In 2018 with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he became the first player in NFL history to throw for at least 400 passing yards in three consecutive games. The following season with the Miami Dolphins, he became the oldest player in NFL history to lead his team in rushing yards (243) and touchdowns (four) in a season. Fitzpatrick is also estimated to be the highest-earning seventh-round pick in NFL history ($82.1 million over 17 seasons), per Spotrac.

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Fitzpatrick, who also played for the Cincinnati Bengals, Tennessee Titans, Houston Texans and New York Jets, started for all nine teams he suited up for but struggled with inconsistency and never played in the postseason. He was the only NFL player to throw a touchdown and an interception for eight teams, and his six interceptions for the Jets against the Kansas City Chiefs in 2016 were the most thrown in one game by any quarterback in two decades.

He earned the nickname “FitzMagic” for his memorable performances off the bench and timely plays under pressure. In the locker room, he developed a reputation as a player with a knack for keeping it light and easing the nerves of younger players. Outside it, he wore DeSean Jackson’s clothing to a 2018 postgame news conference in Tampa Bay and posed shirtless with Bills fans during a playoff game in January despite subzero wind chills that night in Buffalo.

Amazon, which will broadcast “Thursday Night Football” exclusively this year, declined to comment on Fitzpatrick’s future, but it has been active during an offseason that has seen an industry-wide shake-up in broadcasting talent. The company announced in March that Al Michaels and Kirk Herbstreit will call its Thursday night NFL games this season. (Amazon founder Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post.)

Fitzpatrick would be the latest quarterback to jump from the field to the booth. Fox Sports announced in May that Tom Brady will become its lead analyst after he retires, positioning him to join a host of quarterbacks-turned-broadcasters including Troy Aikman, Tony Romo, Peyton and Eli Manning and Drew Brees.

Nicki Jhabvala contributed to this report.


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