Tua Tagovailoa was named the starting quarterback of the Miami Dolphins on Tuesday. The decision came as something of a surprise, seeing as Ryan Fitzpatrick had been having a very good year up to this point.
One day later, on Wednesday, Fitzpatrick admitted that the news of his benching crushed him.
“I was shocked by it,” he said. “It definitely caught me off guard. It was a hard thing for me to hear yesterday, just kind of digesting the news. My heart just hurt all day. It was heartbreaking for me.”
Even though Fitzpatrick knew that he was essentially the bridge which would connect Miami from the past to the Tagovailoa Era, the way it happened was still rough on him.
“Obviously we’ve talked in the past, me and you guys, about how I’m the placeholder and this eventually was going to happen,” he said. “It was just a matter of kind of when, not if. It’s still just … it broke my heart yesterday. It’s a tough thing for me to hear and to now have to deal with, but I’m going to do my best with it.”
Shortly after Fitzpatrick offered his thoughts on the move, Tagovailoa did the same.
“Although it hurts me in a way to see Fitz hurt, I’m just very, very lucky to have someone like Fitz in my corner, regardless of the situation we’re in right now,” he said. “I hate to say it like this, but it is like this: it’s like a father and son thing.”
Tua says he’s excited, but also feels badly for Fitz.
Laughs about his relationship with Fitzpatrick “I hate to say it, but it’s kinda like a father and son thing.” pic.twitter.com/buPueg579M
— Clay Ferraro (@ClayWPLG) October 21, 2020
Prior to getting benched, Fitzpatrick was playing some of his best football in years. He amassed 1,535 passing yards (12th in the league) and 10 passing touchdowns (10th in the league) on a 70.1 completion percentage (5th in the league). His 255.8 yards per outing is the second-best of his 16-season NFL run.
To the surprise of absolutely no one, the Dallas Cowboys are already being mentioned as a potential landing spot for Fitzpatrick. For now, though, the 37-year-old has been relegated to backup duties for a promising young rookie.
“This profession is interesting in that the guy that fired me, I basically got fired yesterday, and then my day of work today consisted of me in Zoom meetings listening to the guy that fired me, and then (was) locked in a spaced-out room with my replacement for four hours today,” he said. “So there aren’t a whole lot of jobs that are like that.
“But I know how difficult it is to play the quarterback position and I know that that room is so important to the guy that’s playing in terms of everybody having your back and pulling in the same direction.”
Wow. One NBA agent went off. https://t.co/NHA0qwg4DF
— Game 7 (@game7__) October 21, 2020
“So today’s the day to digest a little bit and we’ll get away for the bye a little bit. But, yeah, once this thing starts up again, I’ve got to do my best for Tua to help him out.”
The Dolphins are off with a bye this week, before welcoming the Los Angeles Rams on Nov. 1 for Tagovailoa’s debut as the team’s new starting quarterback.