Freeman’s and Ryan’s departures are among the most notable in Atlanta history. Their previous franchises are in different positions, however. The Braves acquired All-Star Matt Olson to replace Freeman. They’re coming off a championship and seemingly have a fair shot at repeating. Freeman’s Dodgers are likely their biggest roadblock to another National League pennant.
The Falcons are starting from scratch. Marcus Mariota is their stopgap quarterback until they find their next franchise signal-caller, which could happen as soon as April’s draft. While the Falcons rebuild their talent base, Ryan will compete with the win-now Colts, who have a strong structure but have lacked consistent quarterback play since Andrew Luck’s career was disrupted by injuries, leading him to an early retirement.
“We're not gone forever. We're just gone for a little bit in life. I'm sure Matt and I will both find our way back to Atlanta."
- former Braves star Freddie Freeman
During a conversation Sunday with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Freeman acknowledged it was strange that he and Ryan each left around the same time after spending so much time with their respective franchises. He also stressed it’s not a forever goodbye.
“Very crazy, definitely weird when you have two sports in the city that are main sports, that guys have been there for a long time are now not there,” Freeman said. “But luckily, (Atlanta has) Trae Young, and they have a lot of good people. You have Ronald (Acuna), Dansby (Swanson) has been there for a while. You have Josef Martinez. You have a lot of great people that are still there.
“We’re not gone forever. We’re just gone for a little bit in life. I’m sure Matt and I will both find our way back to Atlanta.”