Ryan Fitzpatrick on Dolphins benching him for Tua Tagovailoa: 'It broke my heart'

Ryan Fitzpatrick has been the Miami Dolphins’ starting quarterback for over a season, but that changed when head coach Ryan Flores told him on Tuesday that the job wasn’t his anymore. It was time for Tua Tagovailoa, the team’s 2020 first round draft pick, to become the starter.

The NFL world was surprised to find out that Tagovailoa, who made his brief debut in Week 6, would be starting, but no one was more surprised than Fitzpatrick. He laid bare his soul on a Zoom call with reporters on Wednesday, honestly describing his feelings about being pushed out of the starting position on a team he loves.

‘It broke my heart’

"I felt like it was my team and that's why my heart was so heavy yesterday,” Fitzpatrick said about learning that he was no longer starting QB for the Dolphins. “My heart just hurt all day. It was heartbreaking for me."

Fitzpatrick has played for eight teams over his 16 year career, but Miami was different for him. He hasn’t felt this way about a team since he was with the Buffalo Bills a decade ago, and that’s part of why he’s so heartbroken about being demoted.

Fitzpatrick knew that he wasn’t going to be starting for the Dolphins forever and that Tagovailoa was eventually going to take over. But that didn’t make the news any easier to take.

“This eventually was going to happen. It was just a matter of kind of when, not if,” Fitzpatrick said. “It still just ... it broke my heart yesterday. It’s a tough thing for me to hear and to now have to deal with, but I’m going to do my best with it.”

Working with his replacement

Fitzpatrick is a consummate professional, so no matter how he feels, he’s going to do his job and help Tagovailoa get ready for their next game, which is against the Los Angeles Rams in Week 8. He did admit that the situation is a little weird, though.

The guy who is replacing him has feelings about this, too. Tagovailoa is definitely excited about officially starting his NFL career, but he’s sad that it has to come at the expense of Fitzpatrick, someone who has been so helpful to him over his short time with the Dolphins.

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