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INDIANAPOLIS It’s a new QB1, still wearing No. 2, in Indianapolis.

Matt Ryan’s introductory press conference took place on Tuesday as he joins a new team for the first time in his 14-year NFL history.

Here are the highlights from Ryan meeting the media:

 

On his emotions over the past week:

“I’m not naïve. I understand how this business works and that there’s going to be movement. From the time it started last week until today, I thought everyone handled things professionally. I didn’t like everything I heard (laughs). But you don’t always like what you hear. They were professional and handled it really well. I knew at some point I was going to need to make a decision on whether or not I was going to stay and as I looked into it, I knew there was only one spot I wanted to go. And there was no doubt that if I was going to make the move there is no doubt this is where I wanted to be. There are a lot of things for that to happen for that to go down. I’m thankful for the belief in Mr. Irsay and his family, Chris Ballard and his staff and Frank (Reich) and his coaching staff and also the Falcons organization being understanding of me wanting to go in another direction. I’m just thankful it worked out the way it did and I’m here today.”

 

On if this was Ryan’s decision:

“It was not. I’ve been there and loved every minute of it (in Atlanta), there’s no question about it, and tried to do everything I could to help them win and at the same time and understood whether it was this year, next year or whenever, there might be a time where something different happens. You talk about Tom Brady, Peyton (Manning) or any of those guys, they had times where they had to transition and they both had tremendous success with that. In the back of my mind, that’s what I’m thinking about right now. This opportunity that I have for the rest of my career where I try to catch that spark and go. I’m coming into a building that has been set up extremely well and a roster that has been set up to win and they’ve done a great job putting that together. I’m so fired up to get to work and get on the field with these guys and try do my part to help this team win as many games as a I can.”

 

On if staying in Atlanta was an option:

“At first, I didn’t know. I didn’t know if we were going to be forced into a trade based off how things shook out. The way they did, it came down to a decision to between either staying in Atlanta or coming here to Indianapolis. What sold me was I had a (Zoom) meeting with Chris Ballard, Frank, Marcus Brady, Parks Frazier on Saturday night. Their passion, their commitment, their professionalism, the accountability that Chris has for himself and what he does, the empathy Frank has for my situation of understanding you’ve been in a certain spot and done it one way and don’t ever forget that. It’s an incredible part of that. Don’t ever forget that. It was a really, really cool meeting for me to take. Then I had to sit down with my family and say, ‘What makes the most sense for us?’ I just knew with the roster and the belief they have and the belief in how they do things, the time was just right for me and I felt like I needed to do it. I came downstairs and my wife was like, ‘You look different.’ I knew kind of at that point that was the direction that we wanted to go. It took some time to really think it through and discuss it and when we did, we came to that conclusion.”

 

On his style of leadership: 

“Leadership is about serving your teammates. The one thing that I’ve learned in 14 years is what certain guys need from you is different. What each team you are on needs from you as a player, as a leader is different. You have to get to know your guys. You have to get to know your teammates really well and how they tick and they are motivated and what are the things that you can help them with to bring out the best in themselves. That’s going to be a really exciting challenge for me, to get to know those guys and this locker room, this coaching staff the best I can to figure out how I work into that and what things I can bring into it. I always believed you needed to be flexible in your leadership, that you need to read the room for a lack of a better term, but you better be principled. You have to have things that are non-negotiable, that you believe in, how you work, that comes through with other people. I’ve definitely been flexible throughout my career. I’m certainly at a different point in my career than I was at 23 or 24 with the experience that I have.”

 

On learning a new offense: 

“Well, I’ve had some different coaches in Atlanta. I had 3 different head coaches and probably I want to say 6 offensive coordinators. So I’ve learned some new offenses in my time and learned how it works best to do it. Being in the NFC, watching Frank when he was in Philadelphia, I’ve seen a lot of what they’ve done. When you look at Frank, too, what is interesting to me is they morph, depending on how he sees things to players that he has and what they are doing. So I feel confident I’ll be able to learn it pretty quickly. There’s certainly going to be bumps in the road. There always is working with somebody new. But I’m pretty confident and excited about it. I think part of that rejuvenates you, too. I’m curious and you always want to learn. I can’t wait to start to learn, get into this building and start working with these guys.”

 

On seeing Tom Brady and Matthew Stafford win a Super Bowl the last two years:

“The roadmap looks pretty good. Seeing what Matthew Stafford did in LA last year, making that transition and playing so well and what Tom did, I saw that firsthand in the division the year before. Hopefully we bottle up some of that momentum and make a push here. I really believe we can. I think the roster is built really well. They are sound, across the board, built with really high character football players, guys that work hard. It’s amazing to me in sending a bunch of texts and talking to guys yesterday just back and forth, how much they care about winning. In everyone of their first text messages it was about winning. That’s unique. It really is. And that fires me up. I hope we can ride that trend that’s been going on and making that work for us.”

 

On any prior relationship to Frank Reich before Saturday night:

“That kind of is it. I know a lot of people that know Frank. The football world is small. There are not that many degrees of separation between people. I’ve always heard positive things. I had a teammate from earlier in my career, who was a coach of mine last year, who worked with Frank in Philadelphia and just raved about him. One of the smartest most level-headed guys you’ll ever be around. That’s certainly the review I got from the people I reached out to talk to about this. It’s certainly the review you get from every player on this team. I’m excited about that. I got the chance to talk with (Reich) earlier today and he was so nice to me and my family. I’m ready to get to work.”

 

On how long he wants to play with 2 years left on his contract:

“I’ve said from the start, I’d like to play as long as I can. I feel really good. My body feels really good. I still feel I can play at as high a level as I ever have. As long as that is, nobody has a crystal ball to know exactly how long it’s going to be. As long as I feel good and feel like I can play well, I’m going to try and play.”

 

On thinking about this being a possibility prior to last week:

“You know the league really well when you are in it, so you know which teams are good, what teams might not be as talented, what rosters look like. You know who needs what positions. It’s certainly well reported so we certainly hear about it a lot and you know what kind of situations are around the league. For me, I always said I was committed to the organization I was with, 100 percent. The circumstances changed. And that’s just the reality of life and this business. When the circumstances did change, again, understanding the landscape of what the league looked like at that time, to me there was only one place. I’m so excited to be here. I’ve been watching what this team has done the last three or four years in building and getting better and really feel like it was the kind of place you want to come in the position that I’m in. I’m really excited to be here.

 

On what Ryan knows about Jonathan Taylor (courtesy of Pat McAfee):

“He’s a beast, an absolute beast. We played Buffalo late last year so getting ready for him we watched one of their games where Indy played them. I was like, ‘Man, they ran the ball pretty good against a good defense.’ I said, ‘Let me pop on and see what they are doing on offense.’ Because in the middle of the season you guys were rolling here. I got a chance to take a peek at some of what he did last year, and he’s special. I really do think he’s special. He’s got great vision, great balance, good speed, good power, catches the ball well out of the backfield, willing in pass protection. I had lunch with Quenton (Nelson) and Ryan Kelly today and they said how willing and smart he was in pass protection. I’ve been around a long time and you don’t get backs that do all of that very often and when they do they are game changers. So I’m fired up to play with him. I sent him that text message yesterday. I said, ‘I can’t wait to play with him.’”

 

On Peyton Manning being a mentor and if he talked to him about this decision: 

“I’ll tell you I remember in Atlanta when we on the NFC Championship in (January 2017), we left the stadium and went to dinner. I was at dinner with my family and we were celebrating and the first call I got was from Peyton. He was like, ‘Here is how you are going to map out your two weeks (before the Super Bowl).’ Man, we just won this game and I’m just trying to enjoy it (laughs). You guys all know his level of preparation and planning. But I just remember being like, ‘Man, he’s a step ahead of me on the preparation part of it in getting ready for the Super Bowl in two weeks.’ He was so kind. His wife, Ashley, was so kind to my wife with giving her advice in what we should do with this week and that week and different cases throughout my career. He’s the best. He is. He’s one of the best players in the history of our game and I’m certainly lucky to have had a relationship that he would help me in certain situations.”

 

On remaining goals:

“I think it’s, No. 1, to be the best teammate I can be every day in this building. Do the work that I need to help us win. I understand I’m one part of this wheel. I need to pull my weight and do my job really well, but it’s a pretty strong wheel that has been built. I need to do my part and do the best I can and help them go. Whatever I need to do to help the guys achieve whatever the goals are of the team. For me that’s winning a championship and trying to do everything I can during my time left to go find a way to get that done. I’m telling you, you talk to the guys in this locker room, just from the start and there’s a guys that it’s about winning and it’s about winning big and doing it the right way. It excites me to be part of that. That’s the goal to try and win.”