Miami Dolphins QB Ryan Fitzpatrick was CRUSHED to hear he'd been benched in favor of Tua Tagovailoa ... telling reporters Wednesday, "My heart just hurt all day."
Fitzmagic had the 'Fins rolling the past few weeks ... dude was 3-1 in his last 4 starts with 10 total TDs -- but the team decided to hand the keys over to Tua this week regardless.
And, when 37-year-old Fitzpatrick was asked how he felt about the decision ... he couldn't hide his pain.
"It was heartbreaking for me," Ryan said, before admitting he knew this day was coming eventually after the team had drafted Tagovailoa in the 1st-round last April.
"It still, just, it broke my heart yesterday," Fitzpatrick said, "and it's a tough thing for me to hear and to now have to deal with but I'm going to do my best with it."
Ryan learned of the decision Tuesday ... and he said having to head into meetings Wednesday was tough as hell for him.
In fact, Fitzpatrick straight-up said it felt like he had been fired by head coach Brian Flores.
"I basically got fired yesterday and today my day consisted of zoom meetings with the guy that fired me and sitting in a room with the guy who replaced me for four hours."
Fitzpatrick added, "I felt like it was my team."
The Dolphins are on a bye this week ... and have said Tua will take over the starting QB reins in Week 8 against the Rams.
Fitz says he'll continue to be a mentor to Tua -- "I have to separate my feelings and be a professional. I want Tua to play well."
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