Where Are They Now? Fitzpatrick Shines in Bills' Win

Published by James Dionne on September 13, 2011 at 3:11AM

Ryan Fitzpatrick

In a new weekly feature, The Crimson will be tracking the successes (and potential failures) of some of Harvard’s most successful graduates not to use their Harvard degrees. While a tour through professional sports is not exactly a who’s who of Harvard alumni, a few athletes have taken their game to the next level. From Jeremy Lin to Ryan Fitzpatrick, the Crimson maintains a presence outside of the labs and law offices of the world.

Ryan Fitzpatrick ’05:

Fitzpatrick completed on 17 of his 25 pass attempts for 208 yards and four scores on Sunday, as the Harvard grad’s Buffalo Bills (1-0) routed the Kansas City Chiefs (0-1) on the road, 41-7.

In a day that made Fitzpatrick’s fantasy owners rejoice, the Bills' quarterback took apart a depleted Kansas City secondary that was lacking the services of hard-hitting safety Eric Berry.

Fitzpatrick wasted little time finding his rhythm, connecting with Scott Chandler from four yards out after the Chiefs fumbled on the opening kickoff. From there on out, Buffalo dominated, and Fitzpatrick looked a whole lot like another current Boston-area quarterback, never seeming to be in a hurry when delivering the football.

Sunday’s rout of last year’s AFC West division champs was a cathartic performance for both Buffalo and its Harvard-educated quarterback. For a team that hasn’t had a winning season in a decade, Bills fans have a glimmer of hope, in large part thanks to the man ESPN analyst Merril Hoge called “the most underrated quarterback in the National Football League.”

James Blake ’01:

Another Harvard economics major, Blake fared far worse than Fitzpatrick, losing his second-round match at the U.S. open last week to David Ferrer.

Blake has struggled after the first round of tournaments this year. While he boasts a 12-1 record in first round matches, he is only 3-11 in later rounds.

While Blake has climbed back into the top 100 of the world rankings after a large freefall, the former No. 4 player in the world has more to worry about than an Ec p-set.

Desmond Bryant ’08:

Former Harvard standout Desmond Bryant earned a personal victory on a team that earns few—the 6'5” defensive lineman survived cut day for the Oakland Raiders.

Bryant, an undrafted free agent three years ago, has managed to stick with the Raiders and the NFL. Last year, he recorded 1.5 sacks while seeing limited action.

Bryant will be tuned into the Ryan Fitzpatrick show next weekend as his Raiders take on the Bills, although the closest he will be to physical contact with his co-alumnus will probably occur during postgame handshakes.

Frank Herrmann ’06:

Continuing the up-and-down week for former Harvard athletes, Cleveland relief pitcher and former Crimson hurler Frank Herrmann turned out a less-than-Ivy-quality performance last week against the White Sox on Sept. 8.

Herrmann failed to record a single out while yielding three runs, ballooning his ERA to a less-than-stellar 5.62.

The good news though is that his untarnished 4-0 record remains intact. And undefeated doesn’t sound too bad.