Ex-NFL MVP Matt Ryan Atlanta Falcons retires after not playing a single minute last season

Legendary Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan has officially retired from the NFL after 16 seasons – despite not playing a single snap for the Indianapolis Colts in 2023.

Ex-NFL MVP Matt Ryan Atlanta Falcons retires after not playing a single minute last season

Atlanta Falcons legend Matt Ryan has officially called time on his career after 16 seasons in the NFL, despite not playing a single minute in 2023.

Ryan, 38, formally announced his retirement on Monday after signing a one-day contract with the Falcons, the team he spent all but one season of his career with. Today, 16 years after being drafted, my childhood dream has officially come to an end,” he said.

In an emotional three-minute video shared by the team, he added: “I’m honoured to retire as a Falcon.”

Ryan was picked third overall by the Falcons in the 2008 NFL Draft and bagged MVP honours in 2016 after throwing for 4,944 yards and 38 touchdowns with just seven interceptions. He was traded to the Indianapolis Colts in 2022 for a third-round pick in that year’s NFL Draft. Despite remaining with the Colts for two seasons, he only played for one.


His agent cleverly negotiated a new contract with a $12 million guarantee for 2023, regardless of whether he played or not, which delayed his retirement so he could still get paid. Despite being on the Colts’ payroll, Ryan worked as an analyst for CBS Sports last season thanks to a savvy move by his agent. Now, with no ties left, Ryan can fully embark on his next chapter and managed to sign off in the perfect way by returning to the Falcons.

“Matt Ryan’s impact on the Atlanta Falcons organization and the city of Atlanta is immeasurable,” Falcons owner Arthur Blank said Monday. “Matt was selected as the third-overall pick in the 2008 NFL Draft, went on to win the NFL Rookie of the Year award, and led us to the playoffs in his first season.

Ryan couldn't beat Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in the Super BowlRyan couldn’t beat Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl ( Image: Getty Images)

“That was the start of building a special career that now sees him holding every significant passing record in our franchise history. Matt always represented himself, his family, teammates, and our team with class, character, and integrity on and off the field.”

Ryan came within a whisker of winning the Super Bowl for the Falcons during his MVP-winning season in 2016. However, like many teams before them, the Falcons fell prey to Tom Brady and the New England Patriots after losing 34-28 in one of the greatest comebacks in Super Bowl history.

The Falcons were leading 21-3 at half-time after a scoreless first quarter and extended their lead to 19 with just 15 minutes left on the clock, but somehow Brady and the Patriots managed to level the game. They went on to win in overtime, marking one of the most memorable moments in sporting history. The Falcons are still waiting for their first Super Bowl triumph.

Ryan started a total of 234 career games, with 222 of them being in Atlanta, and retires with a 124-109-1 record. He only ever missed three games with the Falcons and threw for 62,792 yards, 381 touchdown passes, and 183 interceptions.

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