Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

QB Hopes to Return with Jets

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

QB Hopes to Return with Jets

Article excerpt

FLORHAM PARK - Jets wide receiver Kenbrell Thompkins said Monday that had he been able to hold onto a deep pass from Ryan Fitzpatrick in the final minute of Sunday's loss to Buffalo, he was certain he would have scored a touchdown.

That was relayed to Fitzpatrick soon afterward.

"That would have been good," the veteran quarterback said while managing a wry smile.

The reality is that Buffalo's Mario Butler broke up the pass, and Fitzpatrick threw a game-clinching interception on the next play.

But while the hurt of the missed opportunity to go to the playoffs still was etched on Fitzpatrick's face a day later, he was more interested in looking ahead than behind.

"I'm better right now than I have been at any point in my career: physically, mentally, all that stuff," Fitzpatrick said after the Jets held their final team meeting of the 2015 season.

"I feel like I've got a lot of good years left," added the 11th- year pro, who had a career year with 31 touchdown passes and 15 interceptions.

Fitzpatrick's renaissance came at a good time, considering that he now is a free agent. Although he is 33 years old, he figures to attract attention on the open market in a quarterback-starved league. Fitzpatrick made $3.25 million in 2015.

Fitzpatrick, who was acquired in a trade with Houston in March, said, "I try to let my agent handle a lot of that [contract] stuff, but this is obviously a place that I want to be, a place that I'm comfortable with. We'll kind of see how everything goes, and a lot of that is out of my hands.

"This is the most fun I've ever had in a season with the guys in this locker room, [and with] the run we kind of had in December," he added. "Hopefully, I can be back and continue to build on that."

If Fitzpatrick does re-sign, he will be the starter next season, coach Todd Bowles said. Fitzpatrick, of course, gained the job in August only after then-Jet IK Enemkpali slugged Geno Smith and fractured his jaw. …

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