CHARLOTTE, N.C. – In Thursday's early morning hours, around 6:45 a.m., Jake Matthews heard his hotel room phone ringing.
That felt odd.
"I was like 'why is the hotel phone ringing,'" he said. "I haven't had a wake-up call since college."
He sensed something was wrong. The night before, his wife, Meggi Matthews, told him something felt off, and that she might've been sick.
"So, I'm like alright, well, we're scheduled to get you induced on Sunday, just hang in there. I'll play this game and get back Friday and we're on schedule" he said. "But yeah, when I heard the hotel phone, I knew something was wrong."
He then checked his phone and saw 10 missed calls. His wife had been in labor and at the hospital for a couple of hours, arriving there around 5:00 a.m., according to Matthews.
With a Thursday Night Football primetime game that same day, he knew he had to make a swift decision on whether he would stay or go.
"I was just scrambling trying to make a decision on what to do. We were hoping to catch a flight and then that didn't work out," Matthews said.
Luckily Charlotte is only a three and half hour commute to Atlanta. Matthews and a member from the Falcons' security team hopped in a rental car, left the hotel at 9:30 a.m. and made it to the hospital to his wife around 12:30 p.m.
Beforehand, the doctors told Matthews the process was moving quickly.
"They actually had to do some things to slow the process down for me to get there so I couldn't praise her enough for what she went through" he said. "She deserves all the credit in the world but yeah, once I got there, they broke her water, it was to the races, and she just did great."
Matthews helped deliver his newborn son, Beckett Thomas Matthews, who arrived at 3:15 p.m. Thomas is also Jake Matthews middle name. He mentioned his son was almost four weeks early, but he was right at six pounds.
"I know his length was like in the 95th percentile, he was very long but he was a little early, so we'll beef him up," Matthews said while laughing.
He added: "It was incredible, very emotional. Right when he came out, my wife took him for about five minutes and then I got about 15 [minutes], took a couple pictures and we were out."
Following his son's birth, Matthews was able to get on a flight with Falcons' owner and Chairman, Arthur M. Blank, to head back to Charlotte just in time for kickoff against the Carolina Panthers.
"It was whirlwind man. I was anxious but I was just happy to make it here," Matthews said. "It was cool, I got back in the locker room and the guys reacted. It was a round of applauses, a lot of high-fiving, hugging and stuff so it was pretty surreal."
It was a day filled with mixed emotions for the 9-year NFL vet and his family but surely a day he'll never forget.
"I'm anxious to get back but it almost feels like it didn't happen, it's so surreal," he said.