It appears we may have finally reached the end of the road for a former New York Jets quarterback.
At 39 years of age, having just wrapped up his 17th professional season, it might be time to hang up the cleats.
ALL the latest Jets news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Jets newsletter here!
A Unique Career
The former Harvard product, Ryan Fitzpatrick, is one of six players who could be calling it a career this offseason according to Alex Kay of Bleacher Report.
He has had one of the most unlikely, wild, and up-and-down careers in NFL history.
The veteran originally entered the league as the No. 250 overall pick in the seventh round of the 2005 NFL draft.
During his 17 years in the league, he has played for nine different franchises. Fitzpatrick has only played for one team longer than two seasons, a four-year run with the Buffalo Bills.
Although Jets fans will most notably remember Fitz for his magical two-year run with the green and white from 2015-16.
He was supposed to be a veteran backup, but one well-placed hook changed the course of history as Geno Smith’s jaw broke into smithereens and Fitzpatrick was thrust into the spotlight.
In his first season, Fitzpatrick had the best year of his career:
- 31 touchdowns to 15 interceptions
- 3,905 passing yards (second-most in team history)
On top of his individual success, the Jets went 10-6 and narrowly missed the playoffs. It was the closest they had been to the postseason since their back-to-back AFC championship runs.
Although the good times didn’t last. After winning five in a row and certain games breaking the right way, Gang Green was faced with a Week 17 win and you’re in scenario. All they had to do was beat a Buffalo Bills team that had absolutely nothing to play for and they would be in the playoffs.
In that final regular-season contest, Fitzpatrick imploded tossing three interceptions, and watched as the game slipped through their fingers. Buffalo ended up winning 22-17 and just like that the Jets’ season came to a crashing halt.
A Complicated Legacy and a Future in TV
On one hand, Fitzpatrick had one of the best single-seasons in Jets franchise history that featured a record-breaking offense with guys like Brandon Marshall, Eric Decker, and Chris Ivory.
Although as is the case in the NFL sometimes you’re more remembered for the bad moments than the good moments.
After an awkward contract stare-down the next summer between Fitzpatrick and the Jets, they could never recapture that magical feeling of 2015.
The longtime NFL veteran followed up one of the best years of his career with one of his worst. Fitz threw 12 touchdowns to 17 interceptions and Gang Green fell to 5-11.
It is a complicated legacy for Fitzpatrick with the Jets and how things ended. Of course, things only got worse when he hopped on the ESPN Daily podcast and trashed his time with the green and white to Pablo Torre:
Fitzpatrick’s retirement isn’t official and as Jeremy Fowler of ESPN recently noted, he is staying ready just in case something opens up after the 2022 NFL draft.
If he does decide to hang up his cleats, one area he could choose to jump in is the sports broadcasting field. Jim Nantz said the veteran quarterback would be a “natural fit in the booth” and that could make a lot of sense.