Ryan Fitzpatrick still wants to play, pondered retirement after 2016

Jan 1, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) walks off the field after the game against Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium.  Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports

Free agent quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick isn’t a hot name this spring after suffering through a miserable 2016 campaign with the New York Jets. It was such a miserable season, in fact, that Fitzpatrick legitimately had to ask himself if he still had the will to continue playing the game.

“Last year was the hardest year I’ve had,” Fitzpatrick told Gary Myers of the New York Daily News. “Last year was the most difficult year for me. Not physically, just kind of mentally and emotionally. I had to take a step back and think about it. Is this something I still want to do?”

Starting 11 games and appearing in 14 (he was benched twice), Fitzpatrick completed just 56.6 percent of his passes, throwing 12 touchdowns and 17 interceptions.

It was a far cry from the 2015 campaign in which he helped New York win 10 games while throwing 31 touchdowns (career high) and 15 interceptions starting all 16 games.

In the end, the journeyman decided he just had to give it another go.

Football is something so ingrained in me, something I love doing and definitely something I want to do. I still want to compete and I still think I can contribute whether I am in a starting role or whatever capacity.”

Fitzpatrick says he’s staying in shape and is “excited for my next opportunity,” though he knows that likely won’t come until after things are clearer in the wake of the upcoming draft.

It’s hard to imagine Fitzpatrick won’t land a job as a backup at some point this summer. He won’t be demanding the same type of salary that caused his extended holdout leading up to the ill-fated 2016 campaign, and he has a wealth of experience to offer a young passer.

Yardbarker: NFL

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