Matt Ryan explains Falcons exit, says Colts were first option he explored

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Matt Ryan had been with the Atlanta Falcons for his entire career until earlier this month, when the team traded him to the Indianapolis Colts.

Ryan explained to NFL writer Peter King in his “Football Morning in America” column on Monday he received a call from Falcons head coach Arthur Smith about the organization’s intentions of acquiring Deshaun Watson before the quarterback was ultimately traded to the Cleveland Browns.

He told King he thought he was going to be back with the Falcons for the 2022 season.

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Matt Ryan explains Falcons exit, says Colts were first option he explored

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan on Sept. 22, 2019 at Lucas Oil Stadium, in Indianapolis, Indiana.
(Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

“No, you know, I really thought I was going to be back. That was the feeling I got at the end of the year and in the exit meetings. Then it was a phone call from [coach] Arthur Smith, Sunday before everything went down, saying that he didn’t know how things were gonna shake out this week, making me aware of what was going on,” Ryan said. “And I appreciated it. He was honest. At that point, it was kinda wrapping your head around that. There’s disappointment and frustration for sure that sets in at that point.”

Ryan said he told team owner Arthur Blank about potentially looking out for other options before the trade to the Colts was completed.

FRANK REICH SAYS MATT RYAN, COLTS ‘NEEDED EACH OTHER’

Matt Ryan of the Atlanta Falcons on Sept. 22, 2019 in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Matt Ryan of the Atlanta Falcons on Sept. 22, 2019 in Indianapolis, Indiana.
(Bobby Ellis/Getty Images)

“I think it was let’s see how it shakes out first. And so no options were off the table. The only way you can figure that out is to take a look into what the other situations are,” he said. “It became clear when Deshaun did not come, it was on me to let them know that I wanted to seek other options. I told [owner] Arthur Blank that and he was great about it. The first one I wanted to explore was Indianapolis. I think the mindset really changed after the meeting that I had with Chris Ballard and Frank Reich.”

Ryan was the No. 3 overall pick of the Falcons in the 2008 NFL Draft and has been the starting quarterback ever since. He’s only missed a handful of games during his solid career. He helped Atlanta to its second-ever Super Bowl appearance during the 2016 season, but the team lost to the New England Patriots in brutal fashion – a second-half comeback after Atlanta had been up 28-3.

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Matt Ryan holds his new jersey following a press conference at the NFL team's practice facility in Indianapolis, Tuesday, March 22, 2022.

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Matt Ryan holds his new jersey following a press conference at the NFL team’s practice facility in Indianapolis, Tuesday, March 22, 2022.
(AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

Atlanta, after trading Julio Jones and losing Calvin Ridley in the middle of the season, finished 7-10 last year. Ryan finished the season with 3,968 passing yards, 20 touchdown passes and 12 interceptions.

He’ll have some more weapons on offense during the 2022 season.

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The Colts have running back Jonathan Taylor at their disposal as well as young wide receivers Michael Pittman Jr. and Parris Campbell, who should be returning from injury later this season.



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