When Matt Ryan tweeted CBS’ announcement Monday that he would work as an analyst for their NFL coverage this fall, he made sure to note that that was “not a retirement post.” That prompted some speculation on several levels.
Some of the discussion that came up was around if Ryan was preparing a different retirement announcement, say, with a one-day contract to retire as a member of the Atlanta Falcons? Others wondered if he was he only avoiding a formal retirement to ensure he could collect the $12 million in guaranteed money the Indianapolis Colts still owe him. And there was also talk of if he did still actually want to play, either in addition to or instead of broadcasting? Well, Ryan offered a little clarity on that Wednesday in comments to Rich Gannon and Bruce Murray on Sirius XM NFL Radio:
"All the stars would have to [align]. I’ve just learned… in the 15 years I’ve played, to not shut any doors"
Matt Ryan talked to us about joining @NFLonCBS and whether he could return to the field next season. @M_Ryan02 | @RichGannon12 | @BruceMurrayNFL pic.twitter.com/ZYLUxJYlnv
— SiriusXM NFL Radio (@SiriusXMNFL) May 17, 2023
The full quote there, via Kevin Patra of NFL.com:
Ryan told SiriusXM NFL Radio on Wednesday that he felt keeping the possibility of a return — say, in the event of an injury to a starting quarterback — made the most sense given the NFL’s unpredictability.
“I don’t know,” he said when asked what might prompt a return. “This situation, all the stars would have to [align]. I’ve just learned, at least during my experience in the 15 years I’ve played, to just not shut any doors. That’s really the decision behind that… I’m excited to kind of take this next step and to move forward, but at the same time, you never know what’s going to happen in this league. Anything could shake out, and so, we’ll see what happens.”
Thus, there isn’t an imminent retirement announcement coming. And while keeping these options open could be helpful for that guaranteed money front, Patra notes that owner Jim Irsay and the Colts seem unlikely to not pay that even if Ryan did retire. So this does seem to be a relatively serious non-retirement from Ryan. And that makes some sense considering how desperate some NFL teams have been around quarterback injuries in the past, including contacting players long out of the league.
The 38-year-old Ryan had a rough season in 2022 with the Colts, finishing with 3,057 passing yards with 14 touchdowns, 13 interceptions, and a 67.0 percent completion mark in 12 games and getting benched twice. But he does have recent NFL starting experience and an impressive overall resume. And while he didn’t seem to draw a lot of free agent interest after the Colts released him in March, teams might revaluate that with injuries in camp or in the preseason.
Ryan (seen above last November ahead of a game against the Las Vegas Raiders) made it clear here with that “all the stars” line that he won’t jump back in for just any situation, though. So it seems most likely we will see him working for CBS this fall rather than playing. But his clarifications here are appreciated, and they do indicate that he’s not fully closing the door on playing.
[NFL.com; photo from Gary A. Vasquez/USA Today Sports]