After releasing Matt Bryant this past February, and witnessing a struggling kicking game during the preseason, the Atlanta Falcons wisely brought back their franchise leading scorer — kicker Matt Bryant. After winning numerous games for the Falcons over the last decade, Matt Bryant was suddenly released at the beginning of the 2019 offseason.
I was fortunate enough to speak with Matt Bryant and ask him some questions on his thoughts regarding his release and return and what’s ahead for the eighth most accurate kicker in NFL history.
How difficult was the 2018 season for you, dealing with a hamstring injury while also having to watch someone else kick for the Falcons?
“It was tough – I didn’t want to miss any games. You work so hard for so long and with a little bit of luck, you make it to the NFL. You cherish every game. With being here for so long, I take great pride in being the kicker for the Falcons. That’s my job and to see someone else out there was hard. Felt like a country song, someone else being in your house, driving your truck and petting your dog.”
What were your initial thoughts when the Falcons decided to release you?
“Obviously, I was upset. I think it’s only human to feel that way, no matter the occupation.”
How did you stay in kicking shape during the off-season?
“I just kept doing my workouts. I kicked enough to be ready for when I got a call from a team. I developed a relationship with Chase Calcagni of South Alabama and went to work with their specialist. Use the operation of the snap, hold and kick.”
Fans sometimes forget that players aren’t only affected by football decisions, but their families are as well. What does it mean to you to have such a supportive family?
“Means a lot. Families live and die by the plays as well. They feel the highs and lows. My family back in Texas have been very supportive of me throughout this journey and obviously the most visible one is my wife. Our kids have fun with everything and at times have to listen to the unnecessary noise that come from the not so great moments.”
How much interest did you get from other teams before re-signing with Atlanta?
“I had calls from several teams to see where I was physically and gauge my interest in playing some more.”
You’re the eighth most accurate kicker in NFL history and the leading scorer in Falcons history. You have the respect of fans throughout the NFL and nothing to prove. What keeps you kicking?
“Every day is a new day to compete and prove how good you are. I enjoy that. I’ve accomplished everything I could from an individual standpoint. Only thing left is a Super Bowl trophy with my team.”
Do you have a message for Falcons fans?
“Thank you for all the support. I’ve tried my best to be a player that my team and fans could depend on and take pride in the fact that I’m on their team. They’ve had my back at all times and I’m very humbled and appreciative of that!”
Matt Bryant has been the Falcons’ kicker since 2009, when he took over for kicker Jason Elam. We have been fortunate enough as fans to witness Bryant in clutch moments, such as the 2012 Divisional Round matchup against the Seattle Seahawks, where he kicked a game-winning 49-yard field goal to send the Falcons to the NFC Championship game.
Personally, it didn’t feel right seeing someone else back there kicking for the Falcons during the preseason, and I’m glad “Money Matt” has returned to Atlanta. We all got a taste this off-season of “not knowing what you have till it’s gone” — and now we know, it’s awful. So, let’s all appreciate this upcoming season and hopefully Matt Bryant will get what he deserves – a Super Bowl ring.