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What Arthur Blank said about Matt Ryan's retirement 

The Falcons owner reflected on Ryan's impact on the Falcons almost 16 years since the organization drafted the long-time quarterback. 

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — It's the beginning of NFL Draft week, but Monday also marked the official retirement of quarterback Matt Ryan. So, as the current Falcons brass had their final pre-draft meeting, owner Arthur Blank gathered his own notes, reflecting on a former Falcon leader.

The Falcons drafted Ryan No. 3 overall in 2008, and the selection quickly turned a page in the franchise, dawning a new era that lasted 14 seasons. Now, the Falcons hope to make another set of picks in the 2024 NFL Draft, hoping to continue to write the next chapter in Atlanta.

"Life was easier in 2008 because we kind of knew who our first two picks were going to be," Blank said. "We knew the No. 3 pick was going to be Matt Ryan."

Blank still remembers the first time he met Ryan.

The Falcons owner made the trip to Boston College before the draft. The image of Ryan welcoming a group from the Falcons, fielding questions and commanding the table with ease is a clear one for Blank. He saw Ryan handle himself that same way for the entirety of Ryan's tenure in Atlanta, both on the field and in the community.

"To be standing here 16 years after having that dinner up in Massachusetts, it's really been a blink," Ryan said. "I want to start by thanking Mr. Blank for the opportunity of a lifetime."

With the opportunity, Ryan said he returned it by giving his all to Atlanta. The quarterback appeared in 222 games for the Falcons, and set franchise records in passing yards, completions, touchdowns, career passer rating and more.

Blank had to read directly from the notes he gathered so as not to miss one of the many, many accolades.

"It amazed me," Blank said, "in the 14 years that we were graced with Matt as our franchise quarterback and leader, really, what he accomplished."

In the end: "I'm proud to have Matt retire as an Atlanta Falcon."

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