Ryan Fitzpatrick has moved a lot over the course of his journeyman career in the NFL. Now entering his 17th season on his ninth team, Washington's No. 14 opened up about the transition uprooting his Florida life for a new beginning in the DMV.
"It's tough. And that's the part that, you know, a lot of times fans, all they see is a football player," Fitzpatrick told NBC Sports Washington insider JP Finlay on the latest Washington Football Talk podcast. "And there's so much other stuff going on in my life right now, just like all the other players, just like everybody else in the world."
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With the amount of times Fitzpatrick has moved his family around the country, he said his seven children have become more than accustomed to starting anew. This time it's in Virginia and the Fitzpatrick family is getting all squared away with their new schools and sports teams -- while also taking out time to check out the local malls and grocery stores.
"But they're here with me. I'm really excited about it. And I think it'll be a fun year to be in this area for them as well," Fitzpatrick said.
The off-field aspect of making sure his family life is all taken care of is an important one to consider for fans, who as Fitzpatrick noted, don't normally think about those sorts of things. Moving north four states during a pandemic, however, certainly isn't as simple as some of his prior moves.
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The person outside of the football player fans get to see has to worry about making sure his kids are wearing masks in school and getting vaccinated if of age, not to mention the normal homework assignments and new friends to make.
Coming to Washington, it's hard not to notice the differences for Fitzpatrick.
"But, you know, last year, they got used to wearing a mask at school and we were in Florida and everything else was a little bit different in terms of, you know, outdoor activities and sports," Fitzpatrick said. "And so we're just, you know, my kids, they've moved so many times, have been in so many different situations that it was almost normal for them. 'Oh, we've got to change and do something else, OK? We're going to change and do something else.' That's just how they've grown up. And they adapt very well to what we throw at them."
At age 38, Fitzpatrick's veteran presence helps make him a leader to come to for the Burgundy and Gold's younger players -- even for pressing issues like getting vaccinated.
"Well, it's a personal choice. I mean, I've had guys come and ask me questions. Either guys that have been vaccinated or unvaccinated guys have come and we've had discussions about it," Fitzpatrick said. "But at the end of the day, it's a personal choice and my personal choice and when I do and what I do with my family can be very different from somebody else's. But for me and that was the choice that I made to get vaccinated."
Whether it's helping his children follow the ever-changing CDC and school guidelines for wearing masks or giving advice to some of the team's younger players about getting vaccinated, Fitzpatrick has had quite a lot going on to keep himself occupied. That isn't stopping him from being as focused as he can be on the goal ahead.
"I think we've laid a good baseline. But now, you know, I'm new...We just have to continue to build on that and continue to get better every day," Fitzpatrick said. "And we're on the right path right now, but we've got a long way to go."