FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Say goodbye to the “Fitz ’Fro.”
The Jets quarterback trotted out to practice Wednesday sporting a fresh buzz cut after ditching the luscious locks he’s been rocking since training camp began. But the new hairdo wasn’t his choice. According to a source, Fitzpatrick was forced to shave his hair after losing a bet with teammates. It’s still unclear, however, what the wager was over.
Here’s what we do know: Some of the Jets’ biggest stars weren’t fans of Fitzpatrick’s long mane.
“I don’t know what’s going on with the hair and beard. I thought we got past that last year,” receiver Brandon Marshall said last week, after Fitzpatrick arrived with a poofy coif to sign his one-year, $12-million deal.
Fellow wideout Eric Decker also tweaked his quarterback’s appearance after their first practice together. “Full beard, mini ’fro. It looked like he just got off the golf course,” Decker said last week, adding that if Fitzpatrick didn’t address his hair, others in the locker room would.
Have no fear, Jets fans, Fitzpatrick’s trademark bushy beard is still intact.
But the 33-year-old does look like a completely different quarterback, and on Wednesday, he threw the football like a different one, too. After a poor offensive performance Tuesday, the unit looked crisp and locked in. Fitzpatrick threw three touchdowns in team drills, connecting with Marshall, tight end Jace Amaro and running back Bilal Powell.
Coach Todd Bowles didn’t have much of a reaction to Fitzpatrick’s new look. “I don’t have a comment on that,’’ he said. “It’s hot, so to not have a lot of hair is good. I don’t know.”
He was more focused on the strides being made in practice.
“I like the way they started fast and came out with some energy,” Bowles said. “It was an energetic practice overall, obviously mistakes were made on both sides, but they came out and made some plays early on. Just the energy of the practice was better. I know we have a ways to go, but we need to practice like that almost every day.”
Fitzpatrick, who guided the team to a 10-6 record last year, was just as frustrated by the offense’s sluggish performance Tuesday, and even pulled his receivers aside after that practice.
“It’s just important for us to remember we can’t waste any days,” he said afterward. “We did some good things today, but we did more bad than good today. We’ve got to be able to learn from it. We’ve got to continue to be trending upward. We’ve got to continue to be getting better each practice. We did not perform the way we should have today. There were a lot of reasons, but we’ve got to come out tomorrow and have a better day.”
Fitzpatrick has experienced a career resurgence following his trade to the Jets in March 2015. Since then, his hair, and more specifically his beard, have been the talk of the town. Now his buzz cut has fans and media buzzing again.
Fitzpatrick did not speak to reporters after practice, though, so it’s unclear who had control of the razor — a teammate or a barber.