When Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick showed up recently for a workout with his new team, more than a few noticed he was sporting what could reasonably be described as a dad bod. As it turns out, he had the ultimate dad reason for the extra poundage.
It all boils down to birthday cake — lots of birthday cake, as he explained to reporters on Tuesday. That’s what happens when you have lots of children, all of whose birthdays, apparently, happen to coincide with the NFL’s offseason.
Telling the media wryly, “I think two weeks ago I was in peak offseason form,” Fitzpatrick said, “The thing with me is I have seven kids, so in January we have three birthdays. We’ve got a family birthday party, which includes cake, and then we’ve got a friends’ birthday party, which includes cake. So, that’s six times in January.
“We’ve got three birthdays in March — March 1, March 6 and March 11 — which again, that’s a tough stretch. That’s cake six out of 10 or 11 days.”
But wait! Fitzpatrick wasn’t done, adding, “Then we’ve got an April birthday. So, it doesn’t slow down.”
No word yet on how much “FitzMagic” the much-traveled quarterback put on display to wow the kids at all those parties, but he made quite an impression last week at the Dolphins’ facility. Looking like he may have borrowed some of the padding from a tackling dummy, Fitzpatrick had the Internet feasting on jokes.
As some noted, the degree to which the Dolphins are concerned about Fitzpatrick’s fitness may be directly related to how much they care about actually winning this season. After trading away 30-year-old starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill and his 42-46-0 career record in March, only to bring in the 36-year-old Fitzpatrick and his 50-75-1 career record, Miami prompted speculation that its true goal this season was to lose enough games this season to get a high draft pick in 2020 and secure a coveted young quarterback such as Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa.
In that sense, Fitzpatrick could serve as the team’s “tank commander,” with the Dolphins’ only worry about his performance being that he might actually play well enough to win more games than they would like. Notoriously streaky, Fitzpatrick has occasionally appeared to be the answer at quarterback for some of seven teams in his 14-year NFL career, most recently the Jets, for whom he went 10-6 in 2015 only to crash to 3-8 the following season.
Tampa Bay was Fitzpatrick’s port of call for the past two campaigns, and he briefly usurped Buccaneers starter Jameis Winston last year by starting the season on an epic heater while the latter was suspended. Fitzpatrick became the first NFL quarterback to throw for more than 400 yards in three straight games, racking up 11 touchdowns to four interceptions along the way, but as usual he came back to Earth and the team waved goodbye in free agency.
Now in Miami, Fitzpatrick may well be looking at the final stop of a surprisingly lengthy career for a seventh-round pick out of Harvard in 2005. In any event, he’s already well on his way to providing Dolphins fans with entertaining moments both on the field, where he wings the ball with frequently reckless abandon, and off.
In one memorable 2018 episode, after starting the season by throwing for over 800 yards and eight touchdowns while leading the Bucs to a 2-0 record, Fitzpatrick strode to a postgame news conference podium wearing the outfit in which teammate DeSean Jackson had arrived at the earlier stadium that day. The veteran wide receiver was forced to admit, “Fitz you wear it better than me,” as the quarterback was swag-tastically resplendent in aviator shades and a tracksuit top opened wide to reveal gold chains gleaming from a bed of chest hair.
On Tuesday, Fitzpatrick was dressed less for success than for breaking a much-needed sweat, but he also came prepared to offer some reassuring words. “I think in the last four or five years, I’ve really gotten better every year and I think as funny as it sounds, I think my best football is still ahead of me and that’s why I’m still playing,” he said (via the Palm Beach Post).
As for his dad bod, he declared, “Now that the birthdays are behind me, and I think I’m gonna try to go from peak offseason form maybe down to peak in-season form, I’ll be okay.”
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