New Bucs Starting QB Ryan Fitzpatrick Says It’s ‘Ironic’ First Start Is Against Former Team in the Jets

Ryan Fitzpatrick’s weird, wild and wacky 13-year NFL story will add another fun chapter when he faces a familiar foe on Sunday, Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News reports.

Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston’s shoulder injury that will shelve him for a few weeks sets up an intriguing matchup: Fitzmagic vs. the Jets.

“It’s very ironic,” Fitzpatrick told the Daily News Monday after getting the nod to make his first start with his new team against his old team. “It encapsulates my career, basically. My first start as a Buccaneer, of course, comes versus the Jets with everything that happened there the last few years. My career has been a never-ending rollercoaster and one that I’ve loved every minute of along the way. So, I’ll definitely enjoy the challenge on Sunday.”

Fitzpatrick was the engine of the Jets’ feel-good 2015 campaign, a veteran journeyman who galvanized a wayward team stung by the loss of its presumed starting quarterback (Geno Smith) after a locker room fight with a teammate. Fitzpatrick’s career-high 3,905 passing yards and 31 touchdowns put the Jets within a whisker of a playoff berth in Todd Bowles’ first season.

“That was really a special year,” Fitzpatrick said. “I hate that it didn’t end up in the playoffs with a chance to make a run, but that’s the way that it ended up. But that year for me — reuniting with Chan (Gailey) and doing what we did on the field and the relationships that I formed with Brandon (Marshall), Eric (Decker), Nick (Mangold) and all the other guys on that team — was special. The thrills of that season with the stretch we went on (in December) was a lot of fun for me.”

“I have really good memories,” Fitzpatrick said of his two seasons with the Jets. “Obviously it was a tale of two years. My first year there we surprised a lot of people… In terms of the experiences I had and the experiences my family had living there and the people we met in that organization, I’ve got nothing but great things to say about them.”


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