Ryan Fitzpatrick reportedly planning to retire after 16 seasons in NFL

Ryan Fitzpatrick
Dec 26, 2020; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) celebrates with center Ted Karras (67) after the game against the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium. The Dolphins defeated the Raiders 26-25. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Ryan Fitzpatrick came into the NFL as a little-known quarterback out of the 2015 NFL Draft. 16 years later, the ‘FitzMagic’ era could be coming to an end after a wild career.

A seventh-round pick out of Harvard, Fitzpatrick started his professional career with the St. Louis Rams. Since making his debut in 2005, the Harvard graduate has bounced around the league with appearances for eight different teams and he made 146 starts during his career.

Now, in an offseason that already saw Philip Rivers retire and with future Hall of Famer Drew Brees likely hanging up his cleats, another legendary NFL quarterback seems prepared to walk away from the game.

NFL rumors: Ryan Fitzpatrick likely headed for retirement

ESPN Denver’s John Clayton reported this week that it looks like Fitzpatrick will be retiring. The Denver Broncos, looking for someone to compete with Drew Lock, reached out and got the impression that the 38-year-old quarterback won’t be returning to the NFL.

Fitzpatrick signed with the Miami Dolphins in 2019, agreeing to a two-year contract worth $11 million to serve as the team’s primary quarterback. He started 13 games, playing in 15 total, completing 62% of his passes, throwing for 3,529 yards and posting an impressive 20-13 TD-INT ratio. Famously, he delivered some vintage ‘FitzMagic’ in Week 17 by beating the New England Patriots, an upset the Kansas City Chiefs remain grateful for.

He returned for the 2020 season, beginning the season as Miami’s starter while Tua Tagovailoa learned the offense. Following a surprising 3-2 start to the season, with the veteran quarterback boasting a 95.0 quarterback rating and 1,535 passing yards, the Dolphins shockingly benched Fitzpatrick and gave the keys to their rookie quarterback.

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Fitzpatrick returned to action a few weeks later, taking over in Week 10 against the Denver Broncos. With Tagovailoa sidelined for Week 11, Fitzpatrick led the team to a 20-3 victory over the New York Jets behind two touchdown passes and 257 passing yards.

NFL fans got one more iconic moment from him near the end of the season. With Tagovailoa struggling, Fitzpatrick came into the game in Week 15 against the Las Vegas Raiders and sparked one of the greatest comebacks this past season. The miraculous effort kept Miami’s playoff hopes alive. Unfortunately, with the season on the line, Fitzpatrick was ruled out for Week 17 after testing positive for COVID-19.

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It’s a bit surprising that Fitzpatrick would want to walk away at this point. The Broncos, Chicago Bears and Washington Football Team could all use a veteran quarterback with his talent and he’d likely win the starting job for any of the three teams.

If this is the end for Ryan Fitzpatrick, he’ll walk away as one of the greatest seventh-round picks in NFL history. He ranks ahead of Tony Romo, Troy Aikman and Kurt Warner in passing yards (34,977) and is less than 1,000 yards shy of Jim Kelly (35,467). He is also ahead of Warner (208) and Terry Bradshaw (212) for career passing touchdowns (223).