With the 250th pick in the seventh round of the 2005 NFL draft, the St. Louis Rams (’memba them?) selected a quarterback out of Harvard — not exactly a football powerhouse. His name was Ryan Fitzpatrick, and of the 13 quarterbacks taken before him, only one (Aaron Rodgers) still plays in the league.
At 38, Fitzmagic is one of the older players in the NFL, and his long tenure in the league was emphasized in the Washington Football Team’s “First day of school” social media post this morning. While some players posed for one-, two-, or three-year photos, Fitz was starting his first day of… year 17.
I mean, he’s presumably playing with men who were toddlers when he first entered the league. Heck, Fitzpatrick is older than some of the coaches on Washington’s staff and only a few months younger than Offensive Coordinator Scott Turner!
Yes, there are more senior veteran QBs out there. Josh McCown is still technically in the league as an unrestricted free agent — and of course, there’s that freaking guy, 43-year-old Tom Brady, who turns 44 in August. And, of course, there are other quarterbacks, specifically Black QBs as we have pointed out on this site, who don’t always get that second, third, or fourth chance in the league afforded to guys like Fitzpatrick — who has a winning record in just two seasons as a starter.
But besides Fitzpatrick, other position players are aging well, too. Frank Gore, who is third on the NFL’s all-time rushing list, is still running at 38. Plus, Jason Peters and Andrew Whitworth — both in their late 30s — plan to play on the o-line next season. And some kickers can boot it well into their 40’s. Just ask the NFL’s all-time leading scorer, Adam Vinatieri, who officially retired at 48 last month.
But this particular journeyman has never played on a team longer than four years. And over time, Fitzpatrick has played the role of competent starter to solid second-stringer to veteran mentor. He was all three last year in Miami.
This year, Fitzpatrick will suit up for his ninth squad. His list of teams already include:
- St. Louis Rams (2 seasons)
- Cincinnati Bengals (2 seasons)
- Buffalo Bills (4 seasons)
- Tennessee Titans (1 season)
- Houston Texans (1 season)
- New York Jets (2 seasons)
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2 seasons)
- Miami Dolphins (2 seasons)
- Washington Football Team
There aren’t many players who’ve suited up for more than nine teams. QB J.T. O’Sullivan has played for 11, mostly as a backup, and Josh McCown has played for 12. For Fitzpatrick to reach that level of “journeyman,” he’ll have to continue to be replaceable enough for teams to pass on him, but good enough to secure that backup spot.