Fitz's injury gave ‘preview for what was to come' in retirement


Excitement was in the air in Ashburn last offseason following the addition of quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who figured to be an upgrade over the four signal-callers that led Washington to an NFC East title in 2020.

However, the optimism that surrounded Fitzpatrick's arrival in 2021 quickly vanished once the season started, as the quarterback suffered a season-ending injury in Week 1 against the Chargers after playing just 16 snaps.

That September matchup against Los Angeles also ended up being Fitzpatrick's final game of his career. The 39-year-old retired earlier this month, as his former teammate, Fred Jackson, broke the news on Twitter.

Just a few days after his decision to retire became public, Fitzpatrick joined The Adam Schefter Podcast and said his injury gave him an early glimpse of what it would be like to hang up the cleats permanently.

"Last year for me kind of ended up being a preview for what was to come. After I got hurt -- and with the trainer situation in Washington -- I was pretty much removed from the team probably three to four weeks after my injury," Fitzpatrick said.

"It was kind of a rehab for an hour or two each day [thing], but I was removed from the day-to-day, the meetings, the football and being involved with that. It gave me a glimpse into the future of what retirement would look like. It drove my wife crazy, but I think it was a good preview for what was to come. It was time and I'm ready for it."

Washington Football Talk Podcast | Listen and Subscribe | Watch on YouTube

Initial reports of Fitzpatrick's injury suggested he'd only miss six-to-eight weeks. But after the timeline continued to get longer and longer, the quarterback opted to undergo season-ending hip surgery in December to alleviate the healing process.

Throughout Fitzpatrick's first 16 seasons in the NFL, he'd never been away from a team as much as he was in 2021. Although he played for eight other clubs besides Washington, dealt with constant role changes and never spent more than four years in one place, the quarterback had always been around his teammates throughout the season.

A father of seven kids, Fitzpatrick admitted that at times during past seasons, it had been hard for him to take his mind off football even when he was at home.

"During the season I do as much as I can to make sure I'm present when I come home, leaving everything at work, at work," Fitzpatrick said. "But going through the grind of an NFL season, that mental part of it, the emotional part of it -- those two more than the physical -- it's hard to be present all the time because you're always thinking about something. You're thinking about the next game; you're thinking about things you screwed up or things you can do better."

So for Fitzpatrick, after missing almost all of the 2021 season and having the chance to spend more time with his family, he realized how important that time with his loved ones is.

"That part for me, being able to leave that all behind and be present when I was home, during the season especially ... it was a great thing for me and a blessing in disguise with the injury," Fitzpatrick said.

Contact Us