Mike Gesicki has never hidden the way he feels about veteran quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.
The third-year tight end has called Fitzpatrick the best teammate he's had in his two-plus seasons with the Miami Dolphins and rarely has missed a chance in interviews to poke fun at Fitzpatrick, usually for his age.
And that's not even mentioning the fact that Gesicki's production took off in the second half of the 2019 season when Fitzpatrick began looking his way on a regular basis.
So if anybody on the Dolphins roster would have mixed feelings about the team's quarterback switch from Fitzpatrick to rookie first-round pick Tua Tagovailoa, it's certainly Gesicki.
In a Zoom media session Monday, Gesicki even admitted the mixed emotions.
" Super excited for Tua," Gesicki said. "I think he's done a great job dating all the way back to college. With rehab. Getting healthy. Being put in a position to be where he is right now. Where he's the starting quarterback for our football team. He's practiced hard. He's got a great work ethic. He's done all the right things. Preparing for this moment. Super excited for him. Cannot wait to get out there and just get to work with him at full-speed practice.
"With Fitz, he's one of my best friends on the team. I've been very open with how I feel about him as a teammate and a guy. A leader for us. I think the biggest thing with FItz is he loves football. He loves being out there. And he gave it everything he had from the second he was here."
To get an idea of just what kind of affection Gesicki has for Fitzpatrick, he said a couple of weeks ago he wished he could play with him for 15 years — something obviously not feasible given that Fitzpatrick will be 38 next month.
But Gesicki also has respect for what Fitzpatrick has done since joining the Dolphins as a free agent in March 2019, most notably helping Miami win five of its final nine games last season after an 0-7 start.
"Last year everyone was out there saying we weren't supposed to win a game," Gesicki said. "Then to go out there and give Dolphins fans something to be excited about. Winning five of our last nine. And then this year you see him 10 yards down the field blocking on running plays, having fun and enjoying himself. And doing a little celebration every time he throws a bit touchdown. Or even in training camp 30 minutes after he finds out that his mother passed away, the first thing he's thinking about his family. Then he straps up his shoulder pads and laces up up his cleats and goes out to practice. All those things make him the player he is and the leader he is.
"I'll forever be indebted to Fitz. He believed in me when not too many people did. So a thank you to him. And now I'm really excited for this next chapter with Tua. Getting out there. I know everybody is excited. Both in this locker room and outside this locker room. Our fans. Everybody. So it's a new week. We have a game off of a fresh bye week and we're ready to get rolling."