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'He was a ton of fun to play with' | Eric Wood remembers Ryan Fitzpatrick's Buffalo career


There aren't many players in the NFL that will have a career like Ryan Fitzpatrick's.

The 2005 seventh-round pick officially announced his retirement Thursday, June 2 after playing 17 seasons and starting for nine different teams – an NFL record. Fitzpatrick started his career playing two years for the Rams and two years for the Bengals. He only played in 19 games over those first four years then Fitzpatrick found his way to Buffalo.

Fitzpatrick played in his first game in a Bills uniform in Week 6 of the 2009 season, filling in for an injured Trent Edwards. He led the Bills to a 16-13 OT win over the Jets then followed that up the next week with a 20-9 victory against the Panthers in his first start for Buffalo. Later that season, Fitzpatrick set a Bills' franchise record for the longest touchdown pass (98 yards) when he connected with Terrell Owens in Week 11. That record has yet to be broken.

That 2009 season was the first for offensive lineman Eric Wood, who played with Fitzpatrick from 2009 to 2012. The former Bills QB made many connections during his time here and Wood joined Chris Brown and Steve Tasker on One Bills Live Thursday to talk about Fitzpatrick as a player and as a person.

"He's just so smart, and he's so witty," Wood shared. "He'll specialize in some cross-the-line childish games at times, but he's just a ton of fun to be around and he's such a genuinely good person, that everyone in the locker room loves him. So, no one's off limits, he was a ton of fun to play with."

One of Fitzpatrick's high points as a Bill came in Week 3 of the 2011 season. He led the team down 21-10 at halftime to Tom Brady and the Patriots to a comeback 34-31 victory. The former Bills' QB went 27-40 for 369 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions that day. The win was the first time the Bills beat the Patriots at home since 2003. The Bills only beat the Patriots at home on those two occasions from 2000 to 2019.

In his four seasons as a Bill, Fitzpatrick started 53 out of 55 total games. He racked up 11,654 passing yards with 80 touchdowns and 64 interceptions. He also had 175 rushing attempts for 822 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns. The Harvard graduate ranks fifth on the Bills' list of all-time passing leaders behind Josh Allen, Jack Kemp, Joe Ferguson, and Jim Kelly.

After his time in Buffalo, the quarterback spent one year in Houston (2013), and Tennessee (2014). He then spent two years with the Jets (2015-2016), Buccaneers (2017-2018), and Dolphins (2019-2020). And at what would be his final stop, Washington, he started one game in 2021 before suffering a hip injury that would knock him out for the rest of the season and would be the unfortunate end to his unique NFL career.

Fitzpatrick always had a special place in his heart for Buffalo. In 2020 while he was the QB for the Dolphins, he said on The Adam Schefter Podcast that Buffalo was his favorite NFL city to play in and to play for. Fitzpatrick came back to Buffalo in 2022 for the Bills' Wild Card playoff game against the Patriots.

Wood tried to set him up with nice seats for the game, but Fitzpatrick didn't want it. He wanted to sit among the fans and some of his former neighbors in true Bills Mafia style.

"Fitz texted me earlier in the week," Wood said on One Bills Live. "'Hey, I'm gonna bring Tate to the game this week.' I said 'Oh perfect, you guys can literally come in the booth with us and watch it from the back and no one will bug you. Do you need a police escort?' He was a starting quarterback in Week one for the Washington Football Team last year and he's very, very famous. And he's also recovering from a hip injury.

 "So, I'm trying to roll out the red carpet for him. He said 'Nope, we're good.' I said, 'well, I have my club seats, do you want those?' He said, 'No, you're good. I'll just scoop them up online.' I'm like, 'dude, let me help in some sort of way' And then he ends up with his shirt off in the stands and all that."

Fitzpatrick who has almost as many kids (7) as NFL teams he's played for (9) has set numerous NFL records throughout his career as well as franchise records for four NFL teams. The most impressive record is that he's the first quarterback to throw four touchdown passes in a single game with five different teams (Bills, Titans, Texans, Jets, Buccaneers).

In Buffalo, Fitzpatrick will go down as a fan favorite

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