The Falcons created one of the biggest rifts among fans in team history after pursuing the troubled Deshaun Watson, and the disaster wake is still growing for Atlanta. Everyone in a leadership position, outside of Rich McKay, has taken their thrashings from the media. One reporter asked Terry Fontenot whether he thought the Falcons were getting Watson. “There was never a time that we felt that we were going to have that player here,” Fontenot said, who refused even to name Watson.
When Arthur Blank spoke to the media for the first time since the news broke, the founder of Home Depot turned to the same damage control, downplaying the situation, saying the team spoke with Watson on a 75-minute phone call, and that was it. If Watson had decided he wanted to play in Atlanta, “we would have done a lot more work,” investigating the allegations. “But we did do work,” Blank said.
The reality was much different. We know how close the Falcons were to landing Watson, who corresponded with Leonard Fournette and Jarvis Landry over FaceTime about joining forces in Atlanta. The Falcons were considered finalists in the Watson sweepstakes but ultimately failed. The entire pursuit alienated part of the fan base, but once it failed, another part was disappointed for the millionth time. The fan base as a whole was/is upset by the situation.
However, it isn’t just the fans or the people inside the building who were negatively affected by the situation. The greatest quarterback in franchise history was completely blindsided by the desire to trade for Watson. Matt Ryan, who epitomizes what it means to be a pro’s pro, handled the situation with class and even aided the organization by agreeing to adjust his contract to give the two sides more time to work out deals.
Well, this news may come as a shock to some but not to me. Ryan appeared on The Ryen Russillo Podcast and revealed that he would’ve probably stayed in Atlanta had they not pursued Watson.
“Um, you know, had none of this gone down, there’s probably a chance,” Ryan stated. “A pretty good chance. But it did, you know, and so when it does, when the situation is changed, when the circumstances change, you know, I had always thought — like everybody — when you’re drafted there and you play there, this is where I’m going to play my entire career.”
I don’t buy the Falcons were ready to move on from Ryan just because they pursued Watson. The notion that Atlanta may have been ready to hit the reset button is absolutely ludicrous. Had Watson not shown interest in Atlanta and the team not reciprocated, Matt Ryan would be heading into his 15th year in a Falcons uniform.
“(For) fourteen years, every day I woke up to try to help the Falcons win a championship. And that had been reciprocated on the other end for me. And so, when that changed, I had to look into it, and it’s certainly been a big change for sure, but a good one. So, it’s hard to say, but I think honestly, you know, it’s more than likely I probably would’ve still been there if circumstances had been different. But I’m excited with where I’m at.”
Photographer: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire
You must log in to post a comment.