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Ryan Fitzpatrick: Bengals Were 'Definitely an Option'

Former Bengals backup and Bills starter Ryan Fitzpatrick explains why he chose Tennessee as his destination and makes a few observations from his meeting with the Bengals.

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Rick Stewart

When Ryan Fitzpatrick was reported to have met with the Bengals last week, many fans in Cincinnati viewed the former Bengal as a welcome addition behind start Andy Dalton. Fitzpatrick's familiarity with Cincinnati coupled with nearly four years of experience as a starter for the Buffalo Bills appeared to contribute to a very appealing reunion if the Bengals were able to sign the eight-year veteran.

Regardless of your thoughts on the prospect of having Fitzpatrick in stripes for 2013, he ended up agreeing on a two-year deal with the Tennessee Titans last Tuesday. Fitzpatrick met with reporters at Baptist Sports Park on Monday. When asked about why he chose Tennessee, Fitzpatrick emphasized his desire to work behind a young quarterback.

"I wanted to find a nice role for me to come in and more than likely help the young guy. I thought that would be something that was important to look for and this was, for me, a great opportunity to come in. I don't know Jake [Locker] at all, but to help Jake and step in, to be there for him and to be ready to play if anything happens."

Fair enough. Fitzpatrick simply wanted to handle his new role behind a young quarterback -- wait a minute. This sounds very familiar. In fact, it sounds exactly like what he would have been able to work with in Cincinnati. When reporters asked Fitzpatrick about his level of interest when he met with various teams, the Bengals inevitably came up and Fitzpatrick reflected on his observations while meeting with the Bengals in 2013.

"I was real familiar with Marvin and everybody in the front office. There's a lot of different faces in that locker room right now. It's a different offense from when I was there, different quarterback for them, all that stuff. So I think it would have been fresh faces and not kind of the same old stuff that I was used to when I was there, and so that was definitely an option."

Throughout his interview, Fitzpatrick stressed his desire to be in a completely new environment. While Cincinnati may be different offensively compared to roughly five year ago, it may have simply been too familiar in other ways when comparing with the Titans. Of course, the Bengals may have their own reservations from their meeting with Fitzpatrick as well. One can only speculate.

Regardless, the Bengals moved on and signed Josh Johnson as their backup quarterback for presumably less than the $6.5 million Tennessee is paying Fitzpatrick over the next two years.