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The Athletic: Ryan Fitzpatrick was “floored” after learning Tua Tagovailoa would start for the Miami Dolphins

Fitzpatrick didn’t want to give up the starting job in 2020.

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NFL: Miami Dolphins at Arizona Cardinals Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Ryan Fitzpatrick started the first seven games of the season for the Miami Dolphins. With Fitzpatrick under center, the team began the year 4-3 before Brian Flores and the coaching staff made the shocking decision to start Tua Tagovailoa for the season’s final nine games.

Fitzpatrick, now projected to start for the Washington Football Team this season, recently spoke with Robert Mays of The Athletic about what it was like to hear that he would be benched in favor of Tagovailoa.

“I have a ton of respect for [Flores], and we have a very good relationship,” Fitzpatrick said. “But I thought it was a joke at first. We’re putting Tua in? I was floored.”

Miami’s offensive coordinator at the time, Chan Gailey, was also caught off guard by the change at quarterback.

“I was in total shock,” Gailey said. “We didn’t even have a preseason. It was a totally new offense [for Tua]. We were just starting to hit our stride. We’d won two in a row and scored a bunch of points and moved the ball well. It came as a shock to me.”

Mays goes deep into Fitzpatrick’s 17-year career and provides a peek behind the curtain to the drama that unfolded after Miami’s quarterback change.

While Fitzpatrick’s comments may rub some the wrong way, it is important to keep in mind that his competitive fire has led to a nearly two-decade NFL career. Competitors hate to lose both on and off the field. Fitzpatrick wearing his heart on his sleeve is a refreshing twist from the repeated jargon we’re used to hearing from players.