(Reuters) - New York Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick says he never lost faith in himself, even when it seemed the whole organization had given up on him.
The 33-year-old signed a $12 million contract with the team in the off-season but endured a bumpy first six games before being benched, with Geno Smith taking over at quarterback.
However, when Smith went down to a knee injury against Baltimore on Sunday, Fitzpatrick was thrust back into action and guided the Jets to a 24-16 win.
“The biggest thing in this game ... is to have belief in yourself,” Fitzpatrick told reporters. “Because when the owner stops believing in you and the GM stops believing in you and the coaches stop believing in you, sometimes all you have is yourself.
“That’s kind of something I’ve dealt with before and something I’m dealing with now.”
Fitzpatrick, who went 9-for-14 for 120 yards to help the Jets snap a four-game losing streak, said: “I told Geno and a couple guys I’m going to need a couple days for this one to sink in.
“People giving up on you and having to see them every day is not the easiest thing in the world. You try to deal with as mature as you can and move on.”
Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by Peter Rutherford