Fitzpatrick grows into QB career

It was a nice underdog story while it lasted. But it appears this is when the surprising Buffalo Bills and their tiny miracle of a quarterback, Ryan Fitzpatrick, come crashing back to reality.

The NFL superpower known as the New England Patriots will roll into Buffalo on Sunday, and the Bills are expected to get rocked.

But Fitzpatrick has beaten long odds just to get this far. In a story by Scott Bordow of the Arizona Republic, Fitzpatrick reflected on being a 5-foot-4-inch, 120-pound high school freshman.

Before his junior year at Gilbert (Ariz.) Highland High, Fitzpatrick won the starting quarterback job by calling heads on a coin flip. The 6-4 senior who lost the flip also bombed in relief in the season opener and quit the team the next day.

Fitzpatrick, who got no Division I offers after high school, went to Harvard and fought to get a look in the NFL. Now the Bills are 2-0, Fitzpatrick has seven touchdown passes and the team wants to give him a contract extension.

“Sitting here right now, looking back at how tiny I was and all the different factors that were against me, I’m amazed to be in the position I’m in,” said Fitzpatrick, who is listed at 6-2, presumably in high heels.

Fitzpatrick versus Tom Brady is a mismatch that gives the Bills little shot. But “Fitzmagic” will be tough to beat in the coin flip.

■ SUNNY IN SAN DIEGO — Apparently, the San Diego Chargers were quite pleased with their 35-21 loss at New England in Week 2. They piled up 470 yards of offense and quarterback Philip Rivers said he came away “excited” about the potential he sees.

“We’re going to be a heck of a team,” said Rivers, who told the San Diego-Union Tribune that the flight home was upbeat.

Adding a positive spin was clueless coach Norv Turner, who said, “We were four turnovers away from having a chance.”

Get rid of the turnovers and Turner, and then the Chargers will have a real chance to be a heck of a team.

■ BYE, GEORGE — Here’s how hopeless the situation is for the winless, Peyton Manning-less Indianapolis Colts: A retired 43-year-old quarterback thinks he could salvage their season.

Jeff George, the No. 1 overall pick by the Colts in the 1989 NFL Draft, says he can learn the offense in a couple of days and be ready to start.

“I know it’s a long shot, but they need something,” George told the Chicago Tribune.

No offense to Kerry Collins, of course.

It was unthinkable, but now Brett Favre is starting to sound like a decent option.

■ SAME OLD STORY — Soon after Floyd Mayweather Jr. recorded a controversial knockout victory over Victor Ortiz on Saturday at the MGM Grand Garden, boxing fans found out their dream matchup might happen.

Will it be Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao? Not yet.

Mayweather verbally trashed HBO’s 80-year-old broadcaster, Larry Merchant, who countered, “I wish I was 50 years younger. I would have kicked your ass.”

Just what the sport needs, a fighter back from retirement versus a fighter coming out of the retirement home.


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