ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Ryan Fitzpatrick doesn't intend to shed his scraggly beard or lose his large collection of T-shirts after signing a six-year, $59 million contract Friday that secures him as the Bills' franchise quarterback.
But given how much he'll make and his new high-profile status, Fitzpatrick might have a hard time sticking with the "No-Name" label.
The one-time journeyman, 2005 seventh-round draft pick and Harvard graduate has arrived as a bona fide starter after getting what might wind up as the richest contract in team history. In his first full season as a starter he has led a revived offense that has Buffalo off to a surprising 4-2 start.
"It's been a long road. There's been a lot of hurdles and obstacles that I've had to overcome," said Fitzpatrick, who turns 29 next month. "I think we've got this thing headed in the right direction. So to be a part of that, and to be able to continue to be a part of that for years to come, I'm really excited about it."
The deal includes $24 million guaranteed, the Associated Press reported. That's a significant raise over his $3.22 million base salary this season in the final year of the three-year contract.
"I'm excited about Ryan getting this done," general manager Buddy Nix said. "He'll be our quarterback for a long time."
BRADFORD OUT: Rams quarterback Sam Bradford will miss his second game with a sprained left ankle. A.J. Feeley will start Sunday against the Saints.
CHARGERS: The league said it is looking into the events surrounding a concussion sustained by offensive lineman Kris Dielman. He finished Sunday's game against the Jets and was not assessed until afterward.
DOLPHINS: The NFL Network reported that owner Stephen Ross has contacted the agent for former Steelers coach Bill Cowher, now a TV analyst, to gauge interest in the coaching job. Cowher has said he won't talk to a team without a vacancy. With Miami 0-6, Tony Sparano is unlikely to stay beyond this season.
LIONS: Quarterback Matthew Stafford said he isn't sure whether he will play Sunday at Denver but he seemed to be without limitations while reporters had access to practice. He planted with and jogged on his injured right ankle.
RAIDERS: The cause of former owner Al Davis' death was heart failure, according to the death certificate issued by Alameda County, Calif. Davis died Oct. 8 at age 82.
SAINTS: Running back Mark Ingram (right heel) will miss Sunday's game against the Rams. … State Lawmakers approved the sale of the Louisiana Superdome's naming rights to Mercedes-Benz in a deal worth up to $60 million that gets the state out of making payments to the team. The facility will be called the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
SEAHAWKS: Quarterback Tarvaris Jackson had his most extensive practice since sustaining a pectoral injury this month and appears likely to start Sunday against the Bengals.
TEXANS: Star receiver Andre Johnson, who had hoped to return from a hamstring injury this weekend, will miss his fourth straight game.
FINES: The league docked three players $15,000 each for hits last weekend: Seahawks defensive end Red Bryant (head butt), Dolphins safety Yeremiah Bell (late hit on Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow) and Chiefs linebacker Tambi Hali (low hit on Raiders quarterback Carson Palmer). Three were fined $10,000: the Chiefs' Brandon Flowers (using a football as a prop), and Ravens safety Bernard Pollard and Raiders linebacker Aaron Curry (both late hits).