Thursday, June 30, 2022

Ryan Fitzpatrick retiring after 17 NFL seasons; informs former teammates he’s walking away at age 39

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Ryan Fitzpatrick has decided to call it a career after 17 NFL seasons, as the free agent quarterback told former teammates on Thursday that he is walking away at age 39. Former Bills teammate Fred Jackson revealed the news on social media.

A former seventh-round pick of the St. Louis Rams out of Harvard, Fitzpatrick made his first start with the Rams in 2005 and started a game for every team he’s played on. Fitzpatrick completed 60.7% of his passes for 34,990 yards and 223 touchdowns for an 82.3 passer rating in his 17 seasons. His 223 touchdown passes are the most for any player to graduate from an Ivy league school.

Fitzpatrick holds several records for multiple franchises, including most touchdown passes by a Houston Texans quarterback in a  game (six, 2014) and most touchdown passes by a player in a season (had 31 for the New York Jets in 2015). His 98-yard touchdown pass for the Buffalo Bills in 2009 is also the longest touchdown pass in franchise history. 

Fitzpatrick has started for nine different teams, the most by any quarterback in league history. Among the NFL records Fitzpatrick owns, here the the most unique:

  • First quarterback to start and win against same opponent with six different teams (Jacksonville Jaguars)

  • First quarterback to throw four touchdown passes in a single game with five different teams (Buffalo Bills, Tennessee Titans, Houston Texans, New York Jets, Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

  • Only player in NFL history to pass for a touchdown against one opponent with seven different teams (St. Louis Rams, Cincinnati Bengals, Buffalo Bills, Houston Texans, New York Jets, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Miami Dolphins) in his career. Fitzpatrick did this against the Philadelphia Eagles

Fitzpatrick only improved with age, as he’s completed 64.7% of his passes for 7,999 yards for 50 touchdowns to 33 interceptions in his final 33 games — all coming after the age of 36. He even led the Miami Dolphins in rushing in 2020 with 243 yards at the age of 38 — becoming the oldest player to lead a team in rushing in NFL history.

A truly unique career, Fitzpatrick found plenty of success as a seventh-round pick with plenty of franchises. Fitzpatrick was never able to make a playoff start (or play in a playoff game), but his career improvement showcased more than wins and losses on the football field. 

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