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Published 00:04 IST, April 23rd 2024

Matt Ryan calls it a career. The quarterback officially announces his retirement

Matt Ryan, who put up Hall of Fame-worthy numbers over his stellar career with the Atlanta Falcons but came up heartbreakingly shy of a Super Bowl championship, announced his retirement as a player Monday.

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Matt Ryan | Image: AP
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Matt Ryan, who put up Hall of Fame-worthy numbers over his stellar career with the Atlanta Falcons but came up heartbreakingly shy of a Super Bowl championship, announced his retirement as a player Monday.

The decision was not a surprise, given the quarterback had not played since a single disappointing season with the Indianapolis Colts in 2022. He worked last season as an analyst for CBS , receiving a rousing ovation when he called a game in Atlanta.

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“Ever since I can remember, all I ever wanted to do was play professional sports,” Ryan said in a video posted to his social media accounts . “The Atlanta Falcons gave me that chance.”

Ryan, who turns 39 next month, threw for 62,792 yards and 381 touchdowns over his 15-year career, spent mostly as the face of the Falcons during the most successful era in franchise history.

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He ranks seventh in NFL history for passing yards, ninth in career TD passes and won the league MVP award in 2016.

“Football is the ultimate team sport,” Ryan said. "I was lucky to be surrounded by so many great teammates and coaches."

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The one thing that eluded Matty Ice was a title.

He guided Atlanta to a Super Bowl appearance — just the second in franchise history — at the end of the 2016 season, but the Falcons infamously squandered a 28-3 lead late in the third quarter. Tom Brady and the New England Patriots rallied for a 34-28 overtime victory, which made Atlanta a national laughingstock .

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The franchise has struggled to overcome that mammoth flop, currently mired in a streak of six straight losing seasons.

Ryan would lead the Falcons to one more playoff appearance in 2017, but closed his career with five straight losing campaigns. When Atlanta went into rebuilding mode after the 2021 season, Ryan and his mammoth contract were dealt to the Colts for a mere third-round draft pick.

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The trade still turned out to be a bust for Indianapolis, which benched Ryan for the first time in his pro career. He posted a 4-7-1 record as the starter, had a career-low 14 touchdown passes with 13 interceptions, and was quietly let go by the Colts at the end of the season.

Ryan joined CBS but did not give up on possibly returning to the field if another team called. No one did, so Ryan decided to officially call it a career in Atlanta. An afternoon news conference was planned at the Falcons’ training facility in suburban Flowery Branch.

While his career didn’t end as he hoped, Ryan guided Atlanta to unprecedented success after he was taken out of Boston College with the No. 3 pick in the 2008 draft .

Joining a franchise that was still reeling from franchise quarterback Michael Vick being sent to prison for running a dog-fighting operation and Bobby Petrino abandoning the head coaching position after just 13 games, Ryan provided a steadying influence in the locker room and stellar play on the field.

The Falcons surprisingly made the playoffs in his rookie season, the first of five straight winning seasons for a team that had never put together even back-to-back records above .500 over the first 42 years of its existence.

With Ryan at the helm, the Falcons won three division titles and made six playoff appearances, also reaching the NFC championship game during the 2012 season. He had 10 straight seasons with more than 4,000 passing yards, highlighted by his MVP season when he set career highs with 4,944 yards, 38 touchdowns (to go with just seven interceptions) and a 69.9 completion percentage.

Ryan was a four-time Pro Bowl selectee and proved to be remarkably durable over his career, missing only three games during his Atlanta tenure because of injuries. After turf toe sidelined him for two games during the 2009 season, he made 154 consecutive starts before a high ankle sprain sidelined him for one week in 2019.

He finished his career with a record of 124-109-1 as a starter, including a 120-102 mark with the Falcons.

00:04 IST, April 23rd 2024