Matt Ryan never considered leaving Atlanta for a fresh start elsewhere

Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan, the 2016 NFL MVP and a passer who continues to position himself among the all-time greats when it comes to all major statistical categories, enters his fourteenth season in Atlanta. It’s a time of significant change.

The changes are so significant that, last year, owner Arthur Blank made it clear that Ryan would have a voice in whether he stays for 2021. Earlier this week, Ryan told me that he never considered leaving.

“It never crossed my mind,” Ryan said in a visit sponsored by Tide’s new #TurnToCold initiative. “I mean, I know that there’s been lots of that in the NFL right now. A lot of people, specifically at the quarterback position, moving in different directions. And everybody’s situation is unique. For me, I never wanted to do that. I love being here. I love being a part of this organization. Arthur Blank has been incredible to me, from the minute I was drafted. He’s incredible to my family. So I’m thankful for that opportunity. I love being in this city, living here. It’s home for my wife and I and our kids. And it’s a good place to live. And I want to stay here. I want to be here for a long time. For me, it never really was a part of my thinking.”

Ryan, who has a head coach with a offensive background for the first time in his fourteen-year career, won’t have Julio Jones. He will have Calvin Ridley and rookie tight end Kyle Pitts.

The Falcons have no real expectations for 2021. That often becomes a key ingredient for a team surprising the football world with a stellar season. They quietly continue to have one of the most important ingredients to being relevant — a franchise quarterback.