Fitzpatrick took third-string role to help Tagovailoa last season
Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (1) and former Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) warm up prior to facing the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium.  Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Ryan Fitzpatrick took third-string role with Dolphins to help Tua Tagovailoa last season

Before Ryan Fitzpatrick signed on to be the starting quarterback for the Washington Football Team this offseason, he had taken on the role of -- third-string quarterback?

Fitzpatrick revealed on the ESPN Daily podcast (h/t Pro Football Talk) that when the Miami Dolphins chose to put the ball in Tua Tagovailoa's hands last season, Fitzpatrick became fully committed to helping the young QB succeed -- even if it meant taking a back seat.

"I was fully into helping Tua," the 17-year veteran said. "And at the same time, I wanted this young guy, who otherwise would get zero reps throughout the year, to have an opportunity because I was in his shoes once." 

Fitzpatrick, 38, went so far as to stop taking throwing reps against the defense during practices for long stretches of time so Tagovailoa and rookie backup Reid Sinnett could get all of the work in. 

"I saw it as a way to help Reid. I saw it as a way for me to give extra help to Tua. And I also saw it as a way to prove to myself that I could come out of the stands five years from now and still play this game," Fitzpatrick continued.

As CBS Sports points out, that team-first attitude likely played a role in Fitzpatrick getting his new gig in Washington. Then again, coming off the bench later in the season and recording 45 completions for 556 yards with three touchdowns in a three-game stretch didn't hurt, either.

Chelena Goldman grew up on a street where the boys played street hockey and yelling at baseball and football over the radio was a standard -- making life as a sports geek the perfect fit. She believes in dominance on the blue line, good red wine, and the theory that you can never be too overdressed for any occasion. You can find her gabbing away on Twitter at @ChelenaGoldman.

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