Former Falcons QB Matt Ryan Retires (Updated)

Former Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan announced this afternoon that he will officially call it a career after sixteen years of professional football.

“I wanted nothing else, you know, as a kid to play professional sports, and on April 2008, you gave me that opportunity,” said Ryan to team owner and chairman Arthur Blank at a press conference at the Falcons’ Flowery Branch Headquarters. “I know draft picks are never easy decisions…but for me, it was a responsibility every day to make sure you guys were right.” 

A few of Ryan’s former teammates, Brian Finnerman, Todd McClure, and Michael Jenkins were in attendance, as were his three sons, and wife Sarah


Ryan had a flourishing career as a Falcon. The former Boston College passer has attained in his career 59,735 passing yards, 367 touchdowns, 8,003 pass attempts, 5,242 career completions, 73 career 300-yard games, and a 94.2 career passer rating. He is a four-time pro bowler (2010, 2012, 2014, and 2016), and an NFL Most Valuable Player for 2016.

Some of the biggest moments Ryan had on the field were the pass-touchdown connections he had with players like Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley, and Russell Gage. He helped those three Falcon wide receivers reach 100 yards. 

Ryan brought the Falcons to the brink of their first Super Bowl win in 2017, but their bid was notoriously derailed by the comeback “28-3” rally of Tom Brady and his Patriots, who won Super Bowl LI in what is the biggest blemish in his history with the Falcons. He said today the memory of that loss still stings years later. 

“It hurts,” he said. “Falling short of what you ultimately set out to do is tough, but that’s life.”

The Falcons tried for four seasons to return to the playoffs in search of postseason vindication, but without success. A maxed-out team salary cap also cast a cloud over the team and his future with them. 

In 2022, after a rumored attempt to bring in then-Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson and make him a Falcons starting QB, the team traded Ryan to the Indianapolis Colts. His run there lasted a single season. 

He then tried his hand at sports journalism where he began a new career as an analyst for CBS Sports NFL football games. He got positive reviews of his duties in the announcer booth, but he never made his retirement official until today.


Ryan confirmed his departure from the field this afternoon, signing a one-day contract with the Falcons, enabling him to retire a Falcon.

Many observers think Ryan is a shoo-in for the Football Hall of Fame. “I think my body of work is strong,” he observed in response to a question of what NFL commentator Matt Ryan would think of former NFL player Matt Ryan’s future place in Canton, Ohio. “I think I did a lot of things the right way,  but it’s not my call.”

One person thinks Ryan has a place in the Hall of Fame…his former boss. 

“I can’t thank him enough for what he has meant to our team and fans,” said Blank, in a statement. “I firmly believe he should and will be enshrined in Canton in the future and look forward to that day.”

Now that the gridiron is a thing of the past for Ryan, he now looks back at his time with no regrets and toward his future off the field. 

“It was a hell of a ride,” Ryan said following the signing ceremony. “I’m excited to see what’s next, this next chapter of life and see where that takes us.”

Ryan’s retirement brought an immediate response on social media from fans, sports press, former players, and others who remember and appreciate his tenure with the Falcons. 

Sandra Golden, 92.9 The Game

“Matt Ryan is a class act. He’s wicked funny, smart,a sharp dresser, loves Atlanta. He loves Sarah His boys His other boys (team mates) Dropped an F bomb on Cam at the dome & it was spectacular He could teach a master class on dealing with the media He treats everyone with respect Everyone. He would ask about my daddy’s health He would tirelessly come on our radio show & field questions After wins After losses Matt Ryan is an NFL MVP He was an extraordinary quarterback for the

IS extremely under appreciated Congrats on the formal announcement Best is yet to come!”

Dave Archer, Falcons Radio Network

“Dear Atlanta… | Matt Ryan retires from the NFL as an Atlanta Falcon…..Just Pure Class and oh yeah, one hell of o Player! Thanks Matt!”

Maria Martin, WXIA TV

“Matt Ryan is a future hall of famer. I will accept nothing less.”

Harry Douglas, Former Falcon Wide Reciever, ESPN Host

“Words can’t explain what

meant to the

Organization…In a DARK PLACE the year of 2007, #MattRyan came & saved the Franchise in 2008…Thank you #deuce #MattyIce🧊…It was an honor to be your draft-mate & teammate 💪🏾…”

Mike Bell, 92.9 The Game

“It’s hard for some to remember just how toxic the environment was that Matt Ryan was drafted into. Handled it all with grace, established a consistent winning culture. Earned an MVP and later gave $500K to help the bring the city together in 2020. The epitome of class.”

Tori McElhaney, Senior Falcons Reporter

“I need all of y’all to go watch Matt Ryan talk about his, parents, his siblings, his boys and — of course — his wife. It was one of the most touching moments I’ve ever witnessed in a press conference.”

Mike Conti, 92.9 The Game

“Matt Ryan represented Atlanta with nothing but class for nearly two decades. I have not heard a single negative thing said about him as a person. He will be eligible for the Hall of Fame in 2028, and should be a first-ballot selection with JJ Watt and Tom Brady.”

Grady Jarrett, Falcons Defensive Tackle


Tony Gonzalez, Fmr. Falcons Tight End, Sports Commentator

“What a leader, what a competitor, what a Person. So grateful to have shared the field with you bro 🙏🏽You are one of the greats this league has ever seen. Congrats on an outstanding career 🙌🏽🙌🏽


By Brian Allen, Publisher, Sports In The ATL

Photo image credits: Atlanta Falcons, NFL/X