Because of how important a role Fitzpatrick played throughout the past three seasons, here is the transcript of the conversation in full:
Joe Buscaglia: A bittersweet day for you, talk about the decision and how it all played out from your perspective. How the day went.
Ryan Fitzpatrick: Well it was an interesting day for me. I was in New York City flying back to Arizona when the news broke and so it was good and bad. It was bad obviously because I couldn't call anybody to discuss it and that stuff, but there was WiFi on the plane so we had the iMessage and the email and stuff just to stay in contact. It was very good because when I got off the plane, just all the text messages and voicemails and things that I received, tremendous support and thank you's and everything from teammates and former teammates, and people throughout the Bills organization. It was a hard day for me just to move out from the Buffalo area, we love the fans, our neighbors… we've got some lifelong friends now that live there. So that's one of the things aside from the football and the business part of it, it was the personal part of it is what really makes it tough.
JB: With the deadline looming, were you caught by surprise all at once? Did you have an idea something like this decision was coming?
RF: No. Throughout the process, maybe the last few weeks or so, I've been in constant communication with Buddy talking things out, trying to figure out some sort of solution to the roster bonus, the salary and all that. This isn't something that all of a sudden was thrown at me, I was blindsided by it, this is something that we talked about for a week or two. It was a lot of just private conversations. It was nice for it to be kind of left between me and him and not played out through the media. It stinks. I really did enjoy being a Buffalo Bill, and unfortunately we couldn't get anything worked out.
JB: Did the Bills come to you with an offer to restructure your contract at all?
RF: There were discussions about it. I don't want to get in to all the numbers and what everything was talked about. It was just one of those things we just couldn't agree on and didn't come close to agreeing on.
JB: Favorite memories of Buffalo after four seasons here?
RF: I've got so many good memories. I've got as many off-the-field as on in terms of the relationships and the people that we've met. It's such a great place to live and to raise a family, so that's something we'll always appreciate and remember fondly. The first one playing wise that popped in my head is when we beat New England and just kind of the way the fans had reacted to that victory. The fever within Buffalo, I mean all that was really cool. Watching Fred kind of throw the flag around after the game in appreciation of the fans. That might be maybe the biggest highlight for me in my playing days in Buffalo. There were certainly a lot of them and a lot of it is just with the guys in the locker room. Just being able to see somebody like Stevie Johnson mature and become the player that he's become from a guy that really didn't get to be on the field. There's a lot of that too that didn't just happen in one game or one play, but over the four years that I was there.
JB: Regrets during your tenure?
RF: I don't know if regret is the right word, but the biggest thing is the fact that we didn't get it done the last few years. With Chan, his whole staff being let go after the season. That was a guy that gave so many people on this roster right now opportunities to play and to shine and guys have stepped up and took advantage of opportunities. The fact that we weren't able to win, not only to win for the city of Buffalo because they certainly deserve it, but for a man like Chan, that's probably something I was most disappointed that I couldn't do a better job of that, a better job of bringing in more wins for a guy that put a lot of faith in me.
JB: When you heard the Tarvaris signing, and what Marrone said about an open competition, were you kind of rejuvenated by the idea that maybe you're not done in Buffalo?
RF: I don't know what they're going to do in the draft. Obviously I'm not the one making those decisions, but you kind of have an idea at this point. But looking at the current roster, I don't think there was any way I wasn't gonna be the guy for this next season. And so, that was my mindset going in to it. Just to continue to try and be the guy that leads the charge to turn this thing around. Obviously they went in a different direction, and that's the way that the NFL works. I can't say Buddy didn't give me my fair shot. I had a couple of years to go in there and make things happen, and it just didn't work out. They're ready to move on and so we've got to move on.
JB: Find yourself pressing at all this past season with the implications combined with a poor start?
RF: No, I don't think so. I think by the end of the year, the last few games it's hard -- especially when the playoffs are out of the picture -- it's hard not to look ahead at what's to come. To think of all the different ways that it could play out at the end of the year, depending on how you did in those last few games with wins and losses. Did we show enough improvement, and obviously with a 6-10 record, we didn't show enough improvement for the coaches to stay around. But, I think towards the end of the year you definitely start thinking about that stuff but I don't think it affected my play, or I put more pressure on myself than I needed to.
JB: Buddy Nix's conversation with Mark Dominik, part of it involved you. Your thoughts when you heard what was said about you?
RF: I thought that was terrible for Buddy, for him to be put in that position. To have a private conversation with someone where you thought was a private conversation, and everything gets publicized and put on Deadspin and all that, that's not fair to him. That was my initial reaction. I felt bad for him. With that being said, you don't want to hear that stuff about yourself. I had plenty of conversations with Buddy in the last few weeks, and he is a guy that has always given it to me straight. He tells me how it is and what he thinks of me and all that stuff, and that's one of the things that I really appreciate about the guy and will always appreciate about him.
JB: What's next for you? Take a few days to reflect, or get back on the wagon and try and sell yourself in free agency?
RF: First I've got to probably help my wife carry my luggage from the car from my trip, that would be number one. But I mean yeah, there is obviously some stuff that we've just got to get squared away. We've got four kids. We had a life and a home in Buffalo, so there's some logistics and things that we have to worry about out there and get that stuff figured out. Sit and talking with the kids, them dealing with it and being okay with it. There's just so much that has nothing to do with football or the business side of football, but more the personal side with my family and friends and all that stuff. I think that will be the main focus the next few days. Obviously I have an agent for a reason, so, he'll be the one that will be fielding calls and trying to find another place for us to hopefully have a great experience.
JB: To put a bow on this, any final words about the FitzScream and how that will be remembered?
RF: (Laughs) That was just pure and utter joy. That was, I don't know, unbridled enthusiasm. That was me just out there, having fun, playing football, giggling like a school girl with all my teammates. That's all you can ask out of those games. To go out there and just to have fun and to have that enthusiasm. That will be one of my fondest and most embarrassing moments of the Bills.