After former Buffalo Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick officially announced his retirement from the NFL on June 2, he appeared on Rich Gaenzler’s “Bull in the Basement” podcast to discuss what led him to make this momentous decision and his plans moving forward.
Fitzpatrick played for the Bills between 2009 and 2012. Originally drafted in the seventh round by the St. Louis Rams in 2005, the 39-year-old also played for the Tennessee Titans, Cincinnati Bengals, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Houston Texans, New York Jets, Miami Dolphins and the Washington Commanders during his 17-year career.
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On the podcast, Fitzpatrick, who was the fan-favorite choice to rejoin the team as Josh Allen‘s backup following Mitch Trubisky’s exit, was asked how he felt about Buffalo being favored to win the Super Bowl next season.
“It’s awesome,” Fitzpatrick said. “I think the Bills are so lucky to have Josh and I think Josh is so lucky to have the Bills. It’s a perfect marriage for him and what he stands for. I mean, he’s just got a toughness and a grit, and it just matches the fan base. He’s the perfect quarterback — he’s goofy, he’s silly, doesn’t take himself too serious.”
“Hmm, sounds kinda familiar,” Gaenzler interjected with a wink and a nod, a compliment that Fitzpatrick quickly shot down.
“Well, but he has talent to go with it,” Fitzpatricks said. “He’s got an amazing skill set. But I’ve gotten to know him off the field as well, and he’s young, dumb and fun, just one of the guys. What he did in the playoffs this year was absolutely unbelievable, and it’s such a shame it didn’t go further — but it was one of the greatest runs of two games in the playoffs that anybody has ever seen.”
Though Allen is already considered elite, Fitzpatrick said he hasn’t even reached his peak.
“He continues to get better and better every year, which is a really scary thought,” Fitzpatrick said.
“I think we can all remember he was a 50 or 52 … 55% passer a couple of years ago and now, he’s just absolutely deadly. The accuracy, the decision-making. … He looks bigger and different from anyone else on the field. Couple that will guys love playing with him and playing for him, that’s a pretty good combination right there.”
Fitzpatrick Said He First Contemplated Retirement in 2016
Fitzpatrick said “the sheer volume of people” who reached out to him after his retirement announcement was humbling. Because he doesn’t have any social media accounts, “It’s not a lot of randos. It’s a lot of former teammates and coaches that have reached out, and it’s been really cool.”
As for when he started thinking about ending his NFL career, “I contemplated retirement after the 2016 season which was [the] Jets. Miserable. Hated every second of it. Hated football. Wasn’t a great year for me. I just didn’t play very well. After that, kind of refound the passion, refound the fire.
“But unfortunately last year, I had the hip injury. So it kinda started after my second scan, the MRI, just some of the results that came back, it wasn’t looking necessarily exciting in there. And then part of it, too, [is] my oldest is in high school now. A lot of different factors that have gone into it.”
Fitzpatrick Didn’t Know Fred Jackson Would Announcement His Retirement
Though he’d made the decision to retire over a month ago, Fitzpatrick said he never hatched a plan to “really put it out there” and make it public.
So, it came as a huge surprise when his former teammate, former Bills running back Fred Jackson, broke the news for him. On June 2, Jackson tweeted a screenshot of a personal text with Fitzpatrick and wrote, “Congrats on a Helluva career, Fitzy!! Loved sharing the field with you!! The gratitude is all mine!! #BillsMafia #fitzmagic.”
“Fred, almost unknowingly did a favor for me and put it out there,” Fitzpatrick said. “Freddy hit me up with an apology text this morning and was like, ‘Sorry, dude. I didn’t know it would take off like that!'”
In the end, Fitzpatrick said, it was for the best. “I was like it’s fine — totally cool. I just put [that graphic] together, all my former teammates, just to send out a thank you to a lot of them, and Freddy was the biggest name on the list and was always special to me.”