National Football League
Matt Ryan signs one-day contract with Falcons to announce retirement
National Football League

Matt Ryan signs one-day contract with Falcons to announce retirement

Updated Apr. 22, 2024 2:56 p.m. ET

Matt Ryan is hanging up his cleats, but not before going back to where he began his NFL career.

The four-time Pro Bowl quarterback announced his retirement on Monday, making it official after signing a one-day contract with the Atlanta Falcons.

"So today, 16 years after being drafted, my childhood dream has officially come to an end. I'm honored to retire as a Falcon," Ryan said in a social media video, which showed him writing a message to Falcons fans.


Ryan spent the majority of his career with the Falcons, helping the franchise reach new levels of success after they selected him with the third overall pick in the 2008 NFL Draft. He led Atlanta to the postseason as a rookie, winning Offensive Rookie of the Year.

Ryan quickly emerged as one of the game's best quarterbacks shortly after, bringing the Falcons to the playoffs in three straight seasons (2010-12), earning two Pro Bowl nods during that stretch.

After a three-year playoff drought, Ryan had the best season of his career in 2016. He threw for 4,944 yards, 38 touchdowns and seven interceptions with a 117.1 passer rating in the regular season to win MVP. That success carried into the postseason, where Ryan led Atlanta to the Super Bowl for the first time since 1998.

Ryan and the Falcons' dream season came to a crashing end though in Super Bowl LI. They blew a 28-3 lead to the New England Patriots as the Falcons failed to score on their final four drives before losing in overtime.

The Falcons made it back to the postseason in 2017 behind another strong season from Ryan, but that was the last time the team played in the playoffs with him at quarterback. Ryan still had some solid seasons over the next four years, but they didn't amount to many wins, going 25-39 in the starts he made between 2018-21.

Ryan's time in Atlanta came to an end during the 2022 offseason after the Falcons' failed pursuit of Deshaun Watson became public. He was later traded to the Indianapolis Colts for a third-round pick. Ryan and the Colts struggled, going 4-7-1 in the games he started, and was benched at the end of the season.

The Colts released Ryan during the 2023 offseason. While he still hoped to play, Ryan joined CBS as an announcer for the 2023 NFL season. 

Ryan retires seventh all-time in passing yards (62,792) and ninth in passing touchdowns (381).

"You have no control in this profession in where you start," Ryan said. "I am so lucky that my start and my finish was here in Atlanta."


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