Colts’ Matt Ryan says there’s a ‘good chance’ he’d still be with Falcons if not for Deshaun Watson pursuit


Matt Ryan spent 14 years as the Falcons’ quarterback. Had Atlanta not pursued Deshaun Watson this offseason, it’s likely he would’ve been there for a 15th season, if not longer. Recounting his offseason trade to the Colts in an appearance on “The Ryen Russillo Podcast” this week, the former NFL MVP confirmed that the Falcons’ actions prompted his subsequent exit.

The 36-year-old Ryan had long maintained a desire to finish his career with the Falcons, and team brass publicly backed the veteran as their 2022 QB early this offseason. Then, in March, after a grand jury declined to file criminal charges related to sexual misconduct allegations against Watson, Atlanta aggressively pursued the embattled Texans QB. Falcons owner Arthur Blank has since suggested Ryan’s departure was years in the making, but the veteran QB explained to Russillo that he almost certainly would’ve returned if not for the team’s failed recruitment of Watson.

“I kind of got filled into the loop that they were going to look into Deshaun Watson,” he said, “and then at that point, I said, ‘OK, you know, I understand, but I also need to look into what I need to look into, and if this doesn’t go down, find out if this is still the best fit for me. And as that week went on and (we) kind of looked into, on my end, what might be the best possible landing spot, or what was best for myself and my family moving forward, as we did that research, to me it became one spot.”

That spot, of course, was the Colts, Ryan’s newest team. The Falcons, after failing to acquire Watson, instead added veteran Marcus Mariota in free agency, then spent a third-round draft pick on Desmond Ridder, a potential long-term starter.

“If none of this had gone down,” Ryan said, of the Watson pursuit, “there’s probably a chance — you know, a pretty good chance (that I’d still be there) … I’d always thought, like everybody when you’re drafted there and you play there, this is where I’m going to play my entire career … Every day I woke up, it was to try and help the Falcons win a championship, and that had been reciprocated on the other end. And so when that changed, I had to look into it.”

Ryan added that he feels a “sense of energy, like a rejuvenation,” from joining the Colts for his 15th season. He’s under contract with Indianapolis through the 2023 season.



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