Matt Ryan talks about his offseason preparation during minicamp June 12, 2019, at Flowery Branch. (Video by D. Orlando Ledbetter/AJC)

Two former UGA players join Ryan as ‘world’s 100 highest-paid athletes’

Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan and two former University of Georgia football players made Forbes magazine’s annual list of the “World’s 100 Highest Paid Athletes,” published this week. 

The list ranked athletes by combined earnings from salaries (including signing bonuses and buyouts), prize money and endorsements between June 2018 and June 2019. 

Ryan was ranked No. 60 at $29.8 million. Former Georgia defensive tackle Geno Atkins, a nine-year NFL veteran with the Cincinnati Bengals, was No. 65 at $29.1 million. Former Georgia linebacker-defensive end Justin Houston, now with the Indianapolis Colts after eight seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs, was No. 72 at $28.2 million. 

Three former Hawks players also made the top 100:  Al Horford, now with the Boston Celtics, No. 49 at $32 million;  Paul Millsap, now with the Denver Nuggets, No. 59 at $30.1 million; and Dwight Howard, now with the Washington Wizards, No. 74 at $27.8 million. 

Soccer star Lionel Messi, of FC Barcelona, was ranked No. 1 on Forbes’ list with earnings of $127 million over the past 12 months. See the full list here.

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LEADOFF LINKS AND NOTES 

> The bank formed by the merger of SunTrust and BB&T will be named Truist Bank. Expect to see that name splashed across the region in the next year or so, including on the Braves stadium, the AJC’s Scott Trubey reports.  The stadium will keep the SunTrust Park name through the end of this season, as the Braves previously said, and possibly next season before being rechristened with the Truist name. So: Truist Park? Truist Bank Park? Truist Stadium? Truist Field?

> The MLS Players Association released 2019 salary information for the league’s players. Atlanta United’s payroll (total guaranteed compensation) for all players is $12.68 million, sixth highest in MLS. That’s a bit less than the Braves will pay Dallas Keuchel for the rest of this season ($13 million).

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