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Dan Marino is a fan of magic -- "Fitzmagic," that is.
Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Hall of Fame quarterback got to know each other quite well while Fitzpatrick spent two seasons with the Miami Dolphins. That time, which included 20 starts, was enough to convince Marino that Washington has an opportunity for another playoff run in 2021.
"As for what he does and what he brings to the team, the excitement every day, how he works," Marino told The Sports Junkies. "And he's smart, he understands, he's been around, so he's going to be a great addition for [Washington], especially even just in the locker room and dealing with coaches, just being a professional. Being a professional. That's what he is."
As a player who has been praised for being eager to learn, Fitzpatrick did not waste his time with someone widely recognized as one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history. He viewed it as a privilege to break down film with Marino, but getting a first-hand look at his demeanor was what Fitzpatrick appreciated the most.
"It's confidence," Fitzpatrick said. "It's how to approach guys, it's the leadership portion of it. It's all those things along with just the way that he carried himself and all that. Those are the things, whether they come in question for them, or you just even watch him walk around the building. Those are the kinds of things I think I really pick up on."
Fitzpatrick could tell that Marino's teammates loved playing with him because he's a "normal dude." It sounds similar to how players view Fitzpatrick, who is known for being able to win over a locker room with his personality and unique humor. Based on the smiles that his teammates flash whenever they're asked about him, he's done it again in Washington.
"He's an awesome guy," said fellow quarterback Taylor Heinicke. "When things are kind of going tough or if you have a kind of a bad day, he's kind of the guy to crack a joke and make you remember it's a football game. don't take it so seriously. Obviously, it's your job, but you know, you're here for a reason. You're good enough to play and just take a deep breath."
Fitzpatrick's success working with his teammates is exactly why Ron Rivera decided to sign him this offseason. It also helps that Fitzpatrick is playing some of his best football in his late 30s. Those two factors were enough to convince Rivera that he was the ideal player to lead Washington's young offense.
"He was a guy that when I was in Carolina at one time and we had to compete against him, you always sat there and go: 'Gosh, this guy -- there's something about this guy,'" Riviera said. "It's going to be intriguing for us to see exactly how it unfolds and how it fits with us."
Fitzpatrick has been to eight previous stops in his career. He's never had a postseason appearance, although he's come close multiple times. The good news is that he has a cheerleader in Marino rooting for him to break that mold.
"I want to see him have a lot of success personally because we became friends," Marino said. "I love him as a player and he hasn't been in a playoff game yet in his whole career. So I want to see him get [to] the playoffs and win a game."