Let’s start here:
New Dolphins starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick is not, shall we say, plump.
He’s simply in “peak offseason form.”
So don’t believe your lying eyes. Social media is rarely fair and often plain wrong.
And his seemingly soft midsection in that team-distributed video didn’t tell the whole story.
“The thing with me is I have seven kids, so in January we have three birthdays. We’ve got a family birthday party, which includes cake and then we’ve got a friend’s birthday party which includes cake,” Fitzpatrick said after Tuesday’s voluntary practice, the Dolphins’ first of 2019. “So, that’s six times in January. We’ve got three birthdays in March — March 1st, March 6th and March 11th — which again, that’s a tough stretch. That’s cake six out of 10 or 11 days. Then we’ve got an April birthday. So, it doesn’t slow down.
“But now that the birthdays are behind me, and I think I’m going to try to go from peak offseason form maybe down to peak in-season form, I’ll be OK.”
How about Reshad Jones, the Dolphins’ highest-paid player? Is he in peak offseason form?
Hard to tell. He was MIA on Tuesday.
Why? For several reasons. He is still recovering from offseason shoulder surgery.
But Brian Flores’ guarded comments suggested there is more to it.
“Him and I have been in constant communication,” said Flores, who declined comment when asked if Jones wants out of Miami.
“He’s here, he’s part of the organization,” Flores said. “He made a decision to train somewhere else. It’s voluntary.”
Our best educated guess: The Dolphins are trying to trade Jones and his $13 million base salary, and he’s staying away so he doesn’t get hurt and ruin any chance that happens. And Jones, who famously quit on his team during a game against the Jets last year, could want out too. Efforts to reach Jones’ agent, Joel Segal, for comment were unsuccessful Tuesday.
Jones’ absence was about the only hiccup for Flores, who has been building toward Tuesday — his first practice field as an NFL head coach — for much of his life.
“I’m living the dream,” he said.
Positivity was in large supply in Davie.
And humor, too, particularly with Fitzpatrick, who is on his eighth team in his 15th NFL season.
He spent Tuesday getting to know the on-field quirks of his newest group of receivers (minus Jakeem Grant and Albert Wilson, who are both recovering from season-ending injuries).
Fitzpatrick also shrugged off Chris Grier’s remarks from a few weeks back that the journeyman quarterback is “not a long-term solution for any team.”
Rather, he seemed eager to help building something new and lasting in Miami, even if he knows he probably will not be around when (if?) the good times arrive.
“I’m going to do my best,” he said. “I think in the last four or five years, I’ve really gotten better every year and I think, as funny as it sounds, I think my best football is still ahead of me and that’s why I’m still playing. I love being out there. I love being in the huddle with the guys, and hopefully they’ll get a chance to feel that and see that with me and they’ll think the same way.”
How long will the run last?
Fitzpatrick, 36, does not know.
He is under contract through 2020, although the Dolphins can get out with little cap pain after this season.
But given his level of play in 2018 and the longevity of quarterbacks these days, there’s no reason to believe he can’t, at the very least, finish out his contract, and perhaps even another one.
Fitzpatrick, who has more than a little gray sneaking into his trademark beard, chuckled when a reporter mentioned how Tom Brady wants to play until he is 45.
“I don’t have a number. I still really enjoy playing, so it was an easy decision for me.”