(Born November 24, 1982) -- You probably realize that Ryan Fitzpatrick didn’t take the standard route to the National Football League. Only in football is a Harvard graduate a curiosity.
Fitzpatrick was one of the great athletes in the history of Highland High School in Gilbert, Arizona, lettering in three sports. He even threw a 99-yard touchdown pass in a game; that school record won’t be broken.
Fitzpatrick moved on to Harvard, seeing spot starts in his first two years. He became the full-time starting quarterback in 2003, and was a standout as a junior and senior. Fitzpatrick was the Ivy League’s player of the year as a senior, when he ran for more than 1,000 yards.
His career led to the Rams taking him in the seventh round. After two years in St. Louis, Fitzpatrick was traded to the Bengals. There Ryan mostly backed up Carson Palmer. There wasn’t much of a future there, so Fitzpatrick joined the Bills as a free agent in 2009.
He and Trent Edwards divided the starting job in 2009. Edwards was gone in 2010, and Fitzpatrick has been the starter ever since. He signed a six-year, $59 million contract with the Bills in 2011.
--- Budd Bailey