One of the most popular members of the drought-era Bills is likely returning next season — to play against Buffalo.
Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who was rumored to be considering retirement, has landed a job on his ninth professional team and appears poised to move into the starting role. It’s a job that will likely bring him back to Buffalo for what would be an unprecedented matchup.
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Fitzpatrick Lands in Washington
ESPN reported that Fitzpatrick signed a one-year, $10 million deal with the Washington Football Team and heads into training camp as the starter, with Taylor Heinicke and Kyle Allen in competition for the role.
The 38-year-old Fitzpatrick will be entering his 17th NFL season for what will be his ninth team and the sixth since leaving the Bills in 2012. Though he was not able to lead the Bills to a winning record in any of the seasons, Fitzpatrick remained a fan favorite in Buffalo, and the feeling was mutual. Appearing on The Adam Schefter Podcast last September, Fitzpatrick was asked to name his favorite NFL city.
“I mean, I can’t like… I’m going to get in trouble if I answer that one,” Fitzpatrick, then the starting quarterback for the Miami Dolphins, initially replied.
Schefter prompted him by saying how much he liked the cities of Denver and Chicago, but Fitzpatrick had another team in mind.
“Well yeah… that doesn’t make it any easier,” Fitzpatrick replied to Schefter’s choices. “Cause my favorite NFL city? It’s Buffalo.”
When Schefter dug a little deeper, the Dolphins quarterback had a simple reason for his selection.
“It’s Buffalo. That’s why, because it’s Buffalo,” Fitzpatrick said.
Fitzpatrick Due Back Next Season
If he can hold onto the starting job, Fitzpatrick will likely be playing in Buffalo again in the upcoming season, though it is not yet set in stone.
As Peter King NBC Sports reported, the Bills and Washington Football Team are not currently scheduled to meet in the upcoming season, but would if the NFL moves to a 17-game schedule as expected. Though that change has yet to go through and the schedules still not announced, King wrote that the contest would likely take place in Orchard Park.
“Hearing it’s most likely to be AFC hosting all 16 newly invented games in 2021,” he wrote. “Then NFC teams hosting in 2022. If that’s how it goes, it’s the fairest way. Competitive equity is the key. You don’t want three NFC East teams playing eight at home and the fourth playing nine at home.”
If all those pieces fall into place, it would be the second consecutive season that Fitzpatrick made the trek back to Buffalo, but only the first where he would play and the first in front of fans. The former Harvard quarterback was on the sidelines when the Bills blew out the Tua Tagovailoa-led Dolphins in the 2020-21 season finale in Buffalo, the last game played in an empty stadium before the state of New York allowed limited fans for the playoffs.