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Fitzpatrick shares hilarious story of rookie year with Mike Martz originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
Washington quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick is now entering his 17th NFL season with his ninth different team. As far as experience and knowledge of the game go, he's at the top of the list. There isn't much he hasn't seen.
Still, there was a time when Fitzpatrick was a fresh face -- literally and figuratively -- in the league. Joining the St. Louis Rams in 2005 as a seventh-round pick, the Harvard graduate was joining a franchise at the tail-end of the "Greatest Show on Turf" era.
Mike Martz was the man in charge, and his offense was notorious for featuring some complicated plays. It's something that could be an adjustment for anyone, but especially rookies.
“Mike’s offense is very wordy and he also loves to challenge the young guys and yell at them," Fitzpatrick said on the Brother From Another Podcast.
It was there that Fitzpatrick experienced his "welcome to the league" moment when going through walkthroughs.
“I’m in the huddle and he would throw me in there in walkthroughs and he’d give me the play but he’d kind of whisper it and give me a few words," Fitzpatrick said. "And I’d get in the huddle and I’m looking at, you know, Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt and Orlando Pace and Marshall Faulk. And they all know how to say the plays, they’d been in the offense forever. I can’t spit it out.”
That's when the yelling would start, as Martz would get on the rookie quarterback by referencing his college education.
“So then Mike Martz, ‘Harvard? You went to Harvard? Get the hell out of here,'" Fitzpatrick said. "That was just my whole rookie year.”
It's important to note here that Fitzpatrick's retelling of this part of the story featured an incredible impersonation of Martz that words won't do just for.
While it may have been a tough situation to be in right out of the gates for Fitzpatrick, it also helped him instill the work ethic that has allowed him to thrive in the league for so long.
“So I sat with notecards with my wife and just tried to memorize play calls," Fitzpatrick said. "Since then it’s been a lot better, but that was a tough transition.”
Adversity has been something Fitzpatrick has fought through throughout his career. At each stop there has been a new challenge to overcome. And each time, Fitzpatrick has answered the call.