At the time, the Falcons had already signed a two-year contract with quarterback Marcus Mariota to replace Matt next season.
Matt was a pillar of the organization, after being drafted by the Falcons with the 3rd overall pick of NFL draft in 2008, after playing college football at Boston College. He only missed three games in 14 seasons with the Falcons, and made the Pro Bowl four times during that span.
He was named the league’s MVP in 2016, the same year the Falcons ultimately lost to a now un-retired Tom Brady and company in Super Bowl 51. The Falcons did make the playoffs the following year in 2017, but have failed to do so in every season since.
And now, he’s breaking his silence on the trade and released a lengthy, heartfelt statement thanking the Falcons organization and the city of Atlanta for all of their support throughout the years, saying, in part:
“Fourteen years ago, Arthur Blank gave me the opportunity of a lifetime: to fulfill my dream of playing in the NFL, and to do it as the quarterback of the Atlanta Falcons. From the moment I landed here, late at night just hours after having been drafted, I felt at home…
When my first NFL pass ended with a touchdown, I admit that I felt like this was all meant to be. I was immediately determined to do as right by Atlanta as Atlanta was doing by me. I carried that determination through every season that followed…
I am so very grateful to the coaches and teammates I have played with over the years. There are too many to list here, but I hope each of you know how much you have shaped me as a player and as a person…
It seems impossible to to sum up 14 years, and to adequately express my feelings about them. As much as I have learned about change, though, I know this: Nothing can change what this time has meant to me. So, again. Thank you, Atlanta.”
He also noted how much of his personal life is rooted in Atlanta, saying that he got married to his wife, Sarah, and they bought their first home in Atlanta early in his career there. They had two twin boys in 2018, Marshall and Johnny, that were born at Northside Hospital after Sarah went through a complicated pregnancy.
He also thanked the doctors and nurses there for all of their help and care with the birth of his sons, and while it will definitely be weird to see Matty Ice in a Colts uniform next season, he’ll forever be a legend in Atlanta.