Houston was good for Schaub, but Atlanta’s home

Houston Texans coach Gary Kubiak, right, talks with quarterback Matt Schaub (8) in the third quarter of an NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday, Nov. 6, 2011, in Houston. (AP Photo/Dave Einsel)

caption arrowCaption
Houston Texans coach Gary Kubiak, right, talks with quarterback Matt Schaub (8) in the third quarter of an NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday, Nov. 6, 2011, in Houston. (AP Photo/Dave Einsel)

You might think that Matt Schaub is looking forward to a homecoming of sorts when the Super Bowl-bound Falcons touch down at about 3 p.m. Sunday in Houston, where he holds just about every passing record in franchise history.

The Falcons’ backup quarterback, after all, made 88 of his 92 NFL starts for the Texans after being traded from Atlanta in 2007, and he threw 124 of his 133 career touchdown passes while wearing the Houston uniform.

Twice, he was a Pro Bowler there before departing after the 2013 season.

Really, though, the Philadelphia native feels most at home in Atlanta. A third-round draft pick of the Falcons in 2004, Schaub’s first stint with the Birds was enough that when team officials approached him last offseason about returning as a free agent, it was an easy decision for him and his wife, Laurie.

“We wanted to settle back here going forward after football,” the 13-year NFL veteran said. “We really enjoyed it. I loved living here. Being from Philadelphia, coming down south, the weather … and she’s from Birmingham.

“We knew we wanted to settle in the Southeast. We have a lot of mutual friends, and she worked here four years after college.”

Schaub, 35, started two games for the Falcons the first go-round, once as a rookie and again in ’05 while backing up Michael Vick.

On the one hand, he didn’t mind being traded to the Texans, where he went in ’07 for second-round picks in ’07 and ’08. The teams also swapped first-round picks in ’07, the Falcons gaining Houston’s No. 8 choice for the Falcons’ No. 10.

The former University of Virginia star became a full-time starter in Texas, earning Pro Bowl honors in ’09 and ’12. He doesn’t sound too sentimental, however, about going back.

“At the end of the day it doesn’t really matter (where the Super Bowl would be played), but it will be fun,” Schaub said. “There are definitely some (good restaurants), and some guys have asked about a few.

“I think some of us might go out early in the week to get some dinner, but a lot has changed in the last three years. I still know the area, so that helps when my family comes in.”

With Falcons starter Matt Ryan being so durable, Schaub played in just four games this season, completing one of three passes for 16 yards.

In a way, he’s the elder Falcon inasmuch as he played for Atlanta in 2004, and the most tenured player, defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux, came aboard in ’05.

In every way, he’s feels right at home.

For as much as he likes Atlanta, the place, there are others reasons he came back.

While in Houston, he worked with current Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, who was his quarterbacks coach for one season and the offensive coordinator for two. Two of his best seasons came when they were together in ’08-’09.

Schaub completed 67.9 percent of his passes in his first Pro Bowl season, for a career-highs of 4,770 yards, 29 touchdowns and a 98.6 passer rating.

Plus, Ryan’s a Philly guy, too.

“Knowing that A, we’d be living here, knowing Matt also and the comfort level I would have working with him,” Schaub said helped make the decision. “And obviously Kyle and his system … knowing him and his approach and philosophy, it was a great situation. It was pretty seamless.”

This is much more than an opportunity to travel down memory lane.

Having spent the ’14 season with Oakland and ’15 with Baltimore, Schaub’s done enough traveling that his next trip won’t be a homecoming. He’ll be leaving home Sunday for a Super serious business trip.

“Football’s football, and it’s good to be back in this organization back home,” he said. “We’re going there for one reason, and that’s to get ourselves ready for Sunday.”