Former New York Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick claims that he “hated football” in 2016 while playing for Gang Green.
“The other major point in my career when there was a transition was after my year in 2016 with the Jets, which was miserable and the first time in my life I hated football and just didn’t want to play anymore,” Fitzpatrick said in the podcast interview. “Since then, it’s almost like I’ve been playing on borrowed time.”
Twenty-sixteen was a tough one for Fitzpatrick and the 5-11 Todd Bowles-led squad. This is especially true on the heels of a 10-win 2015 campaign that saw the Harvard grad break the franchise’s single-season passing touchdown mark with 31.
The Jets signed Fitzpatrick in an under-the-radar-type move prior to the 2015 season. With young Geno Smith set to start, Fitz’s future with the organization was unknown.
It wasn’t until the IK Enemkpali incident that things drastically changed. The current Washington Football Team signal-caller was thrust into the starting role and the last double-digit-win Jets squad began to take shape.
Fitzpatrick’s memories of his first Jets season obviously contrast with 2016.
“For me, 2015 was such a great year,” Fitzpatrick added. “It was one of my most enjoyable. We made a great run at the end and all that. But the next year … ’16 was that bad. It sucked the energy and life out of me.
“It was very tough for me because I’ve always been able to do such a good job of separating football, and home … That year there was just so much negative and I was in such a bad place, I couldn’t really hide that part from my family. I didn’t let it defeat me, but it was definitely close,’ said Ryan as he closed up the discussion during his stint with the team.”
With the likes of Nick Mangold, D’Brickashaw Ferguson, Chris Ivory, Ryan Decker and Brandon Marshall at his side, Fitzpatrick was able to produce his best statistical season as a pro. While it led to a near-playoff appearance, it also resulted in a contract dispute during the ensuing offseason.
After an intense stand-off between Fitzpatrick and Mike Maccagnan’s front-office team, the two sides eventually came to an agreement.
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Unfortunately, the Fitzmagic fans witnessed in 2015 was nothing but a memory by the time 2016 rolled around. Fitzpatrick would finish 3-8 as a starter in 2016 while finding himself benched on multiple occasions.
It signaled the end of his tenure in New York, as he ultimately signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 2017 offseason.
From an unexpected high that produced broken records and 10 victories to a low that featured an ugly contract situation and a five-interception game, Ryan Fitzpatrick remains one of the most polarizing individuals in New York Jets history—and these recent comments won’t do much to change that notion.