The story of Matt Bryant is one of those tales of ladder-climbing that inspires even the lowliest office drone, or, in this case, me.
Bryant was undrafted out of college and did what most people do when they can't quite hit the job of their dreams on their first try: Work in a pawn shop. Sometime during his adventures in wrangling with customers about pocket watches allegedly belonging to Kaiser Wilhelm, he got a chance to kick with the mighty Frankfurt Galaxy of the now defunct NFL Europa, a stepping stone to the NFL which yielded fruit fairly quickly. Over the course of the next several season, Bryant bounced around the league for a few years before going on to have four mostly successful seasons with the hated Tampa Bay Bucs. Primarily due to an injury, he lost his job this off-season and is now with the Falcons. The end?
Actually, it's interesting to note how utterly inept most teams are when it comes to retaining kickers. Bryant's got an 80+ percent field goal conversion rate for his career, which is pretty damn good, yet he was largely picked up for a few weeks and cut by those teams who had him early in his career. Now he's 34 years old and despite a 62 yard field goal that had the mayor in Tampa declaring October 23, 2006, to be "Matt Bryant Day" (God bless Wikipedia), he's not really a force from outside 50 yards. He's still, from all indications, very competent inside that range, which makes him an automatic upgrade. Just don't expect Bryant to be our new long-term kicker, because he is almost certainly not.
That said, he's a man who has fought his way onto teams and suffered a terrible tragedy when he lost his young son last year. He'll want to prove a lot and is a quality person, so I'd say Falcons fans will welcome him with open arms. Making a few critical field goals, however, is what will really endear him to Atlanta.