Falcons’ Jake Matthews on no Matt Ryan: ‘It’s definitely surreal’

Falcons offensive lineman Jake Matthews. (Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com)

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

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Falcons offensive lineman Jake Matthews. (Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com)

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

FLOWERY BRANCH -- Falcons tackle Jake Matthews played the first eight seasons of his career with quarterback Matt Ryan, who was traded over the offseason to the Indianapolis Colts for a third-round NFL draft pick.

“It’s definitely surreal,” Matthews said Tuesday, the start of the offseason program. “Honestly, my entire career here he’s been the guy. As we all know, he’s moved on now. I have nothing but respect for him. He was a hell of a leader.”

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Ryan, who holds all of the team’s passing records, is considered on par or ahead of former franchise quarterbacks Steve Bartkowski and Michael Vick in Falcons lore.

Matthews has been the starting left tackle since he was selected sixth overall in the 2014 draft. He was slated to open the season at right tackle, but Sam Baker suffered a career-ending knee injury in an exhibition game in Houston, and Matthews was told at halftime that he’d be moving to left tackle.

He’s been there ever since and has started 128 games.

Matthews, who went to the Pro Bowl as an alternate after the 2018 season, signed a three-year contract extension in March that was worth up to $55.5 million. He’s set to receive $52.5 million in the first three years.

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