Sean Pendergast

Former Texans QB Ryan Fitzpatrick Announces Retirement After 17 Seasons

Ryan Fitzpatrick was the Houston Texans' starting quarterback in 2014. He is retiring after 17 NFL seasons.
Ryan Fitzpatrick was the Houston Texans' starting quarterback in 2014. He is retiring after 17 NFL seasons. Photo by Eric Sauseda
In his 17 seasons in the National Football League, quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick became the Webster's definition of "high level journeyman quarterback." A 2005 seventh round pick out of Harvard, Fitzpatrick played for nine teams across those 17 seasons, including a season in 2014 where he started 12 games for the Texans, his only season in Houston.

On Thursday, Fitzpatrick announced his retirement from football:
According to the New York Post, Fitzpatrick is in discussions with Amazon Prime to be a studio analyst for its streaming package of Thursday night games, starting this season. Fitzpatrick finished his NFL career with a record of 59-87-1 as a starter, while throwing for 34,990 yards, 223 touchdowns, 169 interceptions, and a career passer rating of 82.3.

Fitzpatrick's career was somewhat remarkable, not so much because he achieved at a supremely high level, but because there were so many memorable individual game performances, ebbs and flows, and weird statistical anomalies. Here are seven things, in chronological order, that make Ryan Fitzpatrick memorable:

1. In his very first performance, as a rookie in 2005, Fitzpatrick came off the bench to engineer a second half comeback, down 24-3 against (you guessed it!) the Houston Texans! Fitzpatrick would throw a touchdown pass to Hall of Famer Isaac Bruce in the final 30 seconds of regulation to pull the Rams to within three points, and after an onside kick recovery, he engineered a game-tying field goal drive, before throwing a touchdown pass to Kevin Curtis for the game winner in overtime.

2. As the 2011 starter in Buffalo, his third career stop of the nine total, Fitzpatrick got off to a 4-2 start and was given a six year contract extension, which included $24 million guaranteed. He would go 2-8 the rest of the way in 2011, and would get cut following the 2012 season. This was one of MANY times Fitzpatrick did just enough to tease an NFL team into thinking he could be a full time starter.

3. Somewhere along the way, after Buffalo, Fitzpatrick grew the lush facial hair that would be come his signature, and it was glorious.

4. In 2014, Fitzpatrick signed with the Texans, and earned the starting QB job out of training camp. He would get benched for Ryan Mallett nine weeks into the season, but come back two weeks later, replace an injured Mallett, and throw for a team record six touchdown passes in a game against the Titans on November 30, 2014. Fitzpatrick would break his leg two weeks later against the Colts, and that was it for his Texans career.

5. In 2017, Fitzpatrick was signed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and in 2018, with Jameis Winston out with a disciplinary suspension for conduct policy violations, Fitzpatrick would start the first four games of the season. In classic Fitzy fashion, in those four games, he threw for over 400 yards in the first three and 126 in the fourth one.

6. In 2019, the Dolphins signed Fitzpatrick to be their starter on a team, as we've now learned, whose owner was HOPING they would lose games so they could get the first pick in the draft. The Dolphins learned the hard way, that Fitzy is not good enough to get you to the playoffs, but too good to get you the first pick in the draft. The Dolphins went 5-10 in Fitzy's 15 starts, including a Week 17 win over the Patriots in New England as 17 point underdogs.

7. Fitzpatrick finishes his career as the 32nd leading all time passer (34,990 yards) and 32nd in career earnings by a quarterback ($82.1 million). He somehow played in exactly zero playoff games, not even as a backup, which is maybe the wildest thing of all.

Happy retirement, Fitzy! See you on television.

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Sean Pendergast is a contributing freelance writer who covers Houston area sports daily in the News section, with periodic columns and features, as well. He also hosts afternoon drive on SportsRadio 610, as well as the post game show for the Houston Texans.
Contact: Sean Pendergast