Football Team

'Where are you going to sit?': Fitzpatrick on joining a new team

Football Team

Ryan Fitzpatrick is used to starting over. It's something he's done over and over again.

The 38-year-old quarterback initially started his career in St. Louis as a seventh-round rookie all the way back in 2005.

After two seasons there, he moved on to Cincinnati.

After two seasons there, he moved on to Buffalo.

After four seasons there — man, what a lengthy stay! — he moved on to Tennessee. 

After a season there, he moved on to Houston.

After a season there, he moved on to New York (the Jets, that is).

After two seasons there — we're almost done, but not quite — he moved on to Tampa Bay.

After two seasons there, he moved on to Miami.

And, finally, after two seasons there, he's arrived in Washington.

So, uh... What the hell is it like having to transition to a new franchise after hardly getting to know the previous one?

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On Thursday, during his introductory press conference with his ninth different local media, Fitzpatrick was happy to explain. 

"The first day when players are here — I talked to my kids about it the other day — it’s just like the first day of school when you’re the new kid," he said. "You show up and it just feels weird. You don’t know anybody, and you’ve got to try to make friends and everybody’s staring at you.

 

"It’s a weird feeling when you walk into a new city and a new school and you don’t know anybody. Where are you going to sit at the lunch table? You go through the same thing. I enjoy getting to know new people."

Fortunately, by the sound of it, those new people enjoy getting to know Fitzpatrick, too, as he's widely-regarded as a tremendous person to play alongside. Sometimes, however, it takes a bit for folks to familiarize themselves with the well-traveled passer.

"Is the guard going to recognize me?" he said in response to a question about what's going through his mind when he pulls up to a facility for the first time. "Is he going to think I’m Conor McGregor? Is he going to think I’m one of the Duck Dynasty guys? Sometimes they let you in, sometimes they don’t. Then you’ve got to call somebody else and say: ‘I’m at the front gate.’ You get nervous a little bit. But once they let you in past the gates, then you don’t know where you’re going, and you go from there."

Perhaps the most striking part of Fitzpatrick's presser was how much he seemed to enjoy his quirky life as a pro. He doesn't take it in a negative way or focus on how no organization has ever prioritized keeping him around; instead, he simply views it as a unique challenge that he repeatedly gets to attack.

"I came to terms with the fact that my career is going to be a lot different from other guys," Fitzpatrick said. "I learned to embrace that. I learned to embrace the challenge of going from team to team and trying to get up to speed as fast as possible. It’s something that I take a lot of pride in."

Does he harbor any resentment toward his past employers, though? Even just a little bit, by chance?

In short, no. But the long version of his answer is much better than that.

"Not really," he said. "We always joke, especially being in the AFC East last year: ‘Oh, this is a revenge game.’ Every week is a revenge game for me because I’ve been on every dang team in the NFL. That stuff has gone away. That’s definitely gone away."