Ryan Fitzpatrick said Tuesday night that comments made in a conversation that had been illegally recorded between Buddy Nix and Tampa Bay GM Mark Dominik had no impact on his decision to reject an offer by the Bills to rework his contract.
Nix, in an interview posted today on the website Deadspin.com, characterized Fitzpatrick as "a guy that's fighting for probably a backup job."
That comment made it pretty clear that the Bills didn't want Fitz to be their starting quarterback on opening day next season. The Nix comment suggests that the team's rookie quarterback will be the starter next season. While Fitzpatrick wouldn't say as much, he can't have been thrilled with the notion of competing to be backup to a rookie.
"I'm a very competitive guy," Fitzpatrick said. "I want to be out there playing. I wanted to finish what I started there. "I had so many guys helped me in my career. I learned from some great ones. They weren't maybe Brady or Manning, but they helped me a tremendous amount.
"I see myself being a very valuable guy in that regard," he said. "For me, pride is never going to get in the way. But respect and pride can maybe go hand-in-hand. It's probably more respect than pride."
Fitzpatrick said he would miss Buffalo, which he called home for the last four years. It was here that he realized his dream of being an unquestioned NFL starting quarterback.
"It's a really hard day for me, as a husband and father," Fitzpatrick said Tuesday night from his home in Arizona. "because we loved Buffalo so much. We were very fond of the area and the people. It was a special place to me because of the fans and lifelong friends we made in four years there. That organization gave me my first shot. It's hard leaving the people in the locker room and in that building. They deserve a winner."