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Longtime Falcons QB Matt Ryan officially retires from NFL after playing 15 seasons

Matt Ryan last played professional football in December 2022. He officially called it a career in the fourth month of 2024.

Ryan announced his retirement from the NFL on Monday after 15 seasons (14 with the Atlanta Falcons and one with the Indianapolis Colts) with a heartfelt video message to the organization he played the majority of his career for and its fanbase.

In the video, Ryan reflected on the day he was selected third overall by Atlanta in the 2008 NFL Draft, thanked the veterans he played with in his first season for teaching him priceless lessons early in his NFL career, and other key teammates and coaches throughout his career, with receiver Julio Jones leading the way.

Ryan never mentioned his NFL Most Valuable Player Award earned in 2016, nor did he bring up the crushing loss his Falcons suffered at the hands of the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LI. He didn't need to, though: His career arc already did that for him.

Ryan arrived in Atlanta as the franchise's much-needed replacement for Michael Vick, who had exited Atlanta in disgrace before later reclaiming his career in Philadelphia. And with every step Ryan took as the new starter in town, he helped Atlanta find a reason to believe in the Falcons again, giving them a leader who had an arm capable of throwing the franchise to great heights.

He peaked in 2016 under the direction of offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, who unleashed his offensive scheme on the rest of the NFL and helped Ryan secure his lone NFL MVP of his career. That same season, Ryan and the Falcons stormed through the NFC, rolling the Seahawks and Packers on their way to an appearance in Super Bowl LI, where they took a 28-3 lead that, for a moment, seemed insurmountable. It all came crashing down in the second half of a game that needs no recapping, and although it ended in heartbreak, Ryan proved the Falcons right in that season more than any other.

A year later, the Falcons would return to the playoffs, but fall short against the eventual Super Bowl champion Eagles. From there, the franchise declined, and by the end of the 2021 season -- Ryan's only campaign played under Arthur Smith -- it became clear it was time to move on.

Atlanta shipped Ryan to Indianapolis for a third-round pick in March of 2022 after a failed pursuit of Deshaun Watson, seemingly giving the Colts yet another veteran starter to insert into the lineup and compete. It didn't go according to plan, though, as Ryan's final season was filled with struggles and signs his career was nearing the end. He was released following the 2022 season, and after a year spent in the broadcast booth with CBS, he officially ended his playing career on Monday.

Ryan retires with 62,792 passing yards, 381 touchdowns, 183 interceptions and a career passer rating of 93.6 accrued in 15 seasons. He made four Pro Bowls, one All-Pro team, and still owns both the 2016 MVP and Offensive Player of the Year awards. And even though he doesn't have a ring to polish occasionally, he has a career of which he can be rightfully proud.

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