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Matt Ryan, Arthur Blank to be inducted into Falcons' Ring of Honor

Two pillars of the Atlanta Falcons franchise are receiving permanent recognition for their contributions.

Quarterback Matt Ryan and owner Arthur Blank will be inducted into the Falcons' Ring of Honor this season, the team announced Tuesday.

"On behalf of the Atlanta Falcons, it is a privilege to recognize two of our franchise icons as they enter our Ring of Honor," team president Greg Beadles said.

A co-founder of The Home Depot, Blank purchased the Falcons in 2002, overseeing a team that made the playoffs eight times from 2002-2017, including a run to Super Bowl LI in the 2016 season. Under his direction, Atlanta's franchise has grown in value from the $545 million he paid to purchase the team in 2002 to an estimated $4.7 billion as of August 2023, according to Forbes.

Blank has also garnered numerous awards for his work in the sports, business and philanthropic worlds, most recently receiving the Sports Business Journal's Lifetime Achievement Award in May.

"Since Arthur purchased the team in 2002, results on and off the field have elevated," Beadles said, "and his unwavering dedication to the fans and city of Atlanta is worthy of this recognition and so much more."

Ryan, meanwhile, rose to prominence during his 14 years spent with the Falcons, who used the third-overall pick of the 2008 NFL Draft on the Boston College passer and reaped the benefits of their selection immediately, watching Ryan lead the Falcons to an 11-5 finish and a playoff appearance in his rookie season, earning Offensive Rookie of the Year honors.

Ryan blossomed from there, helping the Falcons reach the postseason five more times in his career and peaking while playing under offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, who guided an explosive Falcons offense to the NFC title and a Super Bowl appearance in 2016. For his efforts, Ryan earned NFL MVP, Offensive Player of the Year and first-team All-Pro honors in 2016, completing 69.9 percent of his passes for 4,944 yards and 38 touchdowns during that magical campaign.

Though that season would stand as his high-water mark, Ryan steadied the Falcons even as they entered a transitional period, leading them back to the playoffs in 2017 and managing to complete 67% of his passes for 3,968 yards and 20 touchdowns in his final year with Atlanta in 2021. He finished his career with a forgettable final season in Indianapolis before officially retiring as a Falcon in April, accepting a job with CBS Sports' The NFL Today later in the month.

The timing of Ryan's arrival will forever preserve Atlanta's appreciation of him. He joined the Falcons two seasons after Michael Vick's career with the team ended abruptly as a result of a guilty plea to federal charges connected to his role in a dogfighting ring. Vick's imprisonment and indefinite suspension left the Falcons without a quarterback until Ryan arrived in 2008, helping the franchise return to normalcy after a period of uncertainty.

Statistically, Ryan assembled quite a resume in Atlanta, completing 65.5% of his passes for 59.735 yards and 367 touchdowns from 2008-2021. He started in 222 of a possible 225 games and posted a 124-108 record as a starter.

He's earned his place among Falcons legends. The quarterback known as "Matty Ice" will officially join them on Oct. 3.

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