9: Before hooking up with Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan in 2008, Tony Gonzalez worked with a string of quarterbacks in Kansas City - seven total over 12 seasons. Chris Redman subbed for Ryan for two games over four years in Atlanta.
Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan has fully recovered from the sprained left AC shoulder joint he suffered against the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC championship game on Jan. 20.
After the game, Falcons coach Mike Smith said that Ryan’s recovery was expected to be three to four weeks and that Ryan would have played had the Falcons advanced to Super Bowl XLVII. No surgery was required.
“He’s started working out in the weight room,” Smith said on Wednesday. “He’s moved from the rehab part of it to working in the weight room, which is a good thing.”
Ryan usually takes a short break after the season. The offseason program starts on April 24.
“He’s been working in the training room and this week he started working in the weight room,” Smith said. “He’s recovered and we absolutely expect him to well beyond 100 percent when we start our offseason program.”
Smith also said that team does not have a timetable for tight end Tony Gonzalez to decide if he’s going to retire or return to the team.
The team plans to be mindful of Gonzalez’ situation and let him arrive at his conclusion without any additional pressure. The Falcons have been clear that they want the game’s most prolific pass-catching tight end to return.
“I don’t that there is anything concrete in terms of a timetable,” Smith said. “But I think that conversation will take place. I had a conversation with him the week after the season and we’ll probably have another here real soon.”
Smith, his staff and the team’s scouts head to Indianapolis next week for the NFL scouting combine. He said it’s not a problem if Gonzalez has not decided by then and that the team would have to scout the tight ends and other position groups either way.
“You have to do your due diligence on all of those positions,” Smith said.
Ryan missed the Pro Bowl after suffering the injury late in the 28-24 loss to the 49ers.
Ryan was injured on a 5-yard pass to running back Jason Snelling. He was pounced on by San Francisco linebacker Ahmad Brooks and then threw two incompletions as the potential go-ahead drive stalled at the 10-yard line with 1:09 to play.
The day after the game Ryan was seen leaving the team’s facilities when his left arm in a sling.
Ryan is set to enter the sixth and final year of his contract that was worth $66 million. Under general manager Thomas Dimitroff, the team has awarded extensions during the final quarter of the regular season.
The Falcons have made it clear they will retain Ryan, who’s guided the team to the playoffs in four of his five seasons, either by granting an extension or they could use the franchise tag in the future.
Ryan and the Falcons are closely monitoring the contract situation of Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco, who was drafted 15 spots behind Ryan in the 2008 draft.
Falcons defensive end Osi Umenyiora has quietly gone about his business this season. As things have imploded around him during a disastrous 3-10 season, Umenyiora has remained professional, a steady force on the field and in the locker room for his younger teammates to lean on.
It turns out that Falcons linebacker Sean Weatherspoon’s hard tackle of Robert Griffin III last season started an injury-related decline that led to Redskins coach Mike Shanahan shutting down the quarterback this week … just in time for the Falcons.