Ryan Fitzpatrick

A year removed from his final NFL season, Ryan Fitzpatrick is manning the studio desk as an analyst for Amazon’s Thursday Night Football broadcast. There are a lot of adjustments and learnings that come with that transition, and Fitzpatrick recently admitted that he was very worried about his ability to be critical of former teammates and other players he knew well. However, it’s a fear that feels he has quickly moved on from.

“The thing that I thought I would struggle with more is being critical. Being critical of friends,” said Fitzpatrick on a recent appearance on The Ryen Russillo Podcast. “Before our Denver game, Nathaniel Hackett is a dear friend of me. He recruited Sherman to Stanford. There’s some ties there where we know him very well, Tony knows his dad very well. I think as long as you are fair, as long as what you are saying isn’t coming from a place of attacking somebody because you don’t like them personally, but you are fair about evaluating what has happened throughout the season. That part hasn’t been as challenging to me.

“I think I’ve very easily been able to make sure to watch film on a guy or a team and tell what I think and not necessarily worry about the feelings that much.”

Russillo also asked what it’s like on the media side after spending a career in the NFL where you sometimes watch the media spread a story that’s different from what actually happened behind closed doors. Fitz, who has bristled over media stories related to his playing days, shared a specific anecdote about his time with the Miami Dolphins when he was benched for current quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.

“At one point, being on the inside, going back to when Flores decided to bench me and put Tua in, all of the stories that came about from that, I was just sitting there like ‘Wait a minute, I’m involved in this and that’s not what happened.’ But, because one person says it, then somebody else picks it up, then somebody picks it up, it sort of spins into the perceived truth of what’s going on. That part as a player is really frustrating.

“As an analyst, I don’t want to call, say Tua, and say ‘Hey, what really happened?’ You never want to betray that trust or that confidence to figure out what’s going on on the inside. You give an informed take, but it is weird being on the outside looking in now. ”

Fitzpatrick added that while he’s glad he gets to remain involved in the NFL, it’s nice to have more free time, spend time with family, and “not have to take the hits.” He also appreciates that Charissa Thompson “has been a true pro and a vet, just kind of allowing us to figure it out as we go.”

[The Ryen Russillo Podcast, via Barrett Sports Media]

About Sean Keeley

Along with writing for Awful Announcing and The Comeback, Sean is the Editorial Strategy Director for Comeback Media. Previously, he created the Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician and wrote 'How To Grow An Orange: The Right Way to Brainwash Your Child Into Rooting for Syracuse.' He has also written non-Syracuse-related things for SB Nation, Curbed, and other outlets. He currently lives in Seattle where he is complaining about bagels. Send tips/comments/complaints to sean@thecomeback.com.