After Twitter users noticed Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick wore his wedding ring during a win over the Buffalo Bills Thursday night, the 33-year-old had a pretty touching and simple answer.
"Yea, I do," Fitzpatrick answered after lifting up his hand to show off the wedding band to the camera.
"Any reason?" Russini said.
"I love my wife," he said, before kissing the ring.
Fitzpatrick met his wife, Liza Barber, more than a decade ago while both attended Harvard University in Massachusetts (noting that the Jets quarterback went to the prestigious university is a favorite pastime of NFL announcers nationwide). They both graduated in 2005, Barber with an English degree, according to a MassLive report last year. And Harvard holds a special place in their hearts.
"We just made our 10-year (reunion) this past year," Fitzpatrick told MassLive. "We were back for our fifth. My wife went there as well. We graduated the same year. So that's important to us. We try to get back at least once a year."
Since college, Barber and Fitzpatrick have built a large family with a hectic lifestyle. They've had five children together: Maizy, Zoey, Lucy, Tate and Brady. They've lived a bit of a nomadic lifestyle, Fitzpatrick bouncing around the U.S. to play for five different teams before landing in New York.
"So we're like a traveling circus," Fitzpatrick told MassLive. "We've got five kids. So we're just touring the country right now. But it's been really nice."
And while Fitzpatrick is an NFL star, Barber was an athlete in her own right, as well. The Des Moines, Iowa native played soccer for Harvard, earning All-American honors and serving as a captain as a senior. They got engaged during his rookie season, Fitzpatrick forced to rush his proposal for a pretty funny reason. Wrote the L.A. Times in 2011:
Fitzpatrick bought a ring with money from a joint bank account he shared with Barber. He hid it in his car, then picked her up for a day of shopping at a St. Louis mall. They stopped by a clothing store, the clerk accidentally double-charged her, and Barber said not to worry because she'd check the account online when she got home.
"So I knew she was going to notice the amount of money that was missing," Fitzpatrick said. "So I was like, 'Oh, man.' I had to figure out from the Gap to my house how I was going to propose to her. Luckily, the ring was in the car.
He ended up proposing at a McDonald's as Barber was eating a 10-piece of McNuggets. After the two got married, Fitzpatrick hasn't seen a reason to take his wedding ring off, even though most NFL players don't wear rings during games.
“It stands for something," Fitzpatrick told the New York Times in 2011. "It’s not like I’m trying to throw a message in anybody’s face. It’s just a personal thing between me and my wife. It’s important for me not to take it off."