QB Fitzpatrick accepts backup role with Buccaneers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) looks to pass the ball against the Chicago Bears during the first half at Soldier Field on Sunday.Photo: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

Sports Xchange

Ryan Fitzpatrick has accepted his role with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers despite becoming the first quarterback in the NFL to throw for over 400 yards in three straight games.

Jameis Winston was named the starting quarterback of the Buccaneers on Monday, thus relegating Fitzpatrick to a backup role.

While Fitzpatrick didn't love the idea of ceding his starting job to Winston, he also knew what was at stake entering the season with Winston set to serve a three-game suspension.

"What I said to my dad after how Week 1 went, and Week 2 and Week 3, was basically... 'I'm either gonna win the NFL MVP this year or I'll be back at the bench at some point.' That's just the reality of the situation," the 35-year-old Fitzpatrick said, per ESPN.

"I wish I could still be out there but that's the way that it goes and I'll accept my role."

Fitzpatrick followed up a three-interception performance versus Pittsburgh by struggling in a rout by Chicago this past weekend. Winston came on in relief and tossed a touchdown pass to tight end Cameron Brate in the 48-10 setback.

With Winston also being the face of the franchise since he was selected with the first overall pick of the 2015 NFL Draft, well, the writing was on the wall for Fitzpatrick.

"It's not necessarily something I wanted to hear, just in terms of getting that taste back, that feeling of being out there and having fun, enjoying myself, kind of creating some momentum at the beginning of the season with the guys," Fitzpatrick said. "But Jameis is back and he's the guy. He's the face of the franchise. He's gonna do a great job. But it's not like it's a happy day for me. I enjoy being out there."

--Defensive tackle Rakeem Nunez-Roches signed a contract with the Buccaneers, the team announced Tuesday.

Nunez-Roches originally entered the league as a sixth-round pick of the Kansas City Chiefs in the 2015 NFL Draft. The 6-foot-2, 307-pound Nunez-Roches spent three seasons with Kansas City and collected 51 tackles and 1.5 sacks in 34 career games.

He spent this past offseason and preseason with the Indianapolis Colts.