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How Tough Is Our Qb?


Tandy
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I've seen threads on here from time to time talking about Ryan being "scared" or not "manning" up on the field. When I see those, I really have to wonder if that person has ever watched this kid in action?

I'm not talking about the game Sunday night. To me, that was just one more example in many. Some of our fans seem to think that this is the first time he's responded under pressure. That is so far from accurate that it's laughable.

I'm not going to go into every account of his mental and physical ability to get back up and keep going - but I wanted to list a few that have stood out to me personally over the past 3 years (plus these 2 games of course)

1. Bucs road game - Ryan's second professional game - He took an absolute physical and mental beating in that game. I'm not referring to the number of sacks he took - I'm talking about hits after his throw, hits as he threw, a defensive genius calling the shots on the road on the other side and a team that was attacking him full force all game. Not only that, his headset was not working - so he was not getting the signals from the sidelines. This, his second game.

Now - you might say - well, we didn't win that game. This is true. What I saw though, was a young QB really show his mental ability to overcome the most amazing odds and keep fighting right up until the end. I saw that we had a tough one. A guy who could take a bust in the mouth, spit it out and go out for the next play.

If you've forgotten just how this game really went down - don't look at the stats. By far his worst. Watch the game. Really watch the game. Watch how he comes out in the second half after being ground into hamburger the first half.

By the way - he hasn't lost another game to Tampa - but he always struggles with stats when he plays them. They are a tough defense - but he hangs in there the entire game - regardless of the hits - regardless of interceptions or sacks.

2. Carolina road game - Ryan's 4th professional game - Holy cow - another beating so soon? Peppers nearly knocked him unconscious in one hit. In fact, I believe Ryan called that his "Welcome to the NFL moment". He said he knew right then that he had to buckle his chin strap tighter and come up fighting. Another loss - but another example of a guy who did not give up.

3. Philadelphia road game - Ryan's 7th professional game - Ryan took a hit that had him down. I thought he must have broken a few ribs at the very least. Redman is warming up on the sidelines. Ryan waves him off - and trots back out there - ala Steve Young. Gutsy as you get.

4. 2009 - Ryan took a beating all year except for in a couple of games. After being hurt with turf toe (say what you want - but it has ended several athlete's careers), they expected he would be out for the remainder of the season. He came back, not cleared, to make sure we got our back to back winning seasons. Came into the Jets game - getting snowballs thrown at him against a very good Jets defense and led a victory drive down the field. Then he took care of the final 2 wins to give us our first back to back wins.

5. 2010 - Holy mackerel - I don't know where to begin. I can tell you that he was so abused and beat down in that 49er game, that I was shocked he kept coming back. They were brutalizing him all day - well after his throws. He was hit 21 times in that game - and most of them after the ball was in the air. After he threw an interception - which Roddy kindly got back for us, he led us down the field for a winning field goal. That was one of the gutsiest performances I've ever seen.

6. 2010 - Probably my favorite throw by Ryan ever occurred in the game against Cleveland. Again - Ryan was taking some hits - and he was rolling out when he needed to make plays. In the 2nd quarter - we were 3rd and 12 - and a defender lunged at him from behind and just grazed his feet. He took off to his right. He was on Falcons 26 yard line outside the numbers about 4 feet and a defender was coming straight at him - and there is no way he didn't know he was about to be creamed. He stood there and threw the ball across the field to Gonzo who was standing on the numbers on the opposite side of the field at the Browns 45 yard line. By my calculations, the ball traveled diagonally 29 feet in length and 50 feet across. That's almost 60 yards for a 16 yard completion. Gonzo brought it in for the first. As soon as Matt released the ball - he was drilled - and I mean drilled. He knew it was coming - and still delivered. That is by far my favorite throw by him. He threw a 45 yard TD to Roddy in that game which didn't come close to this one.

If you want to see that play in Cleveland - go here - you'll find it right at the 1:00 minute mark in the Falcons/Browns highlights. Watch Ryan as he throws the ball - there is a defender in the air - hits him dead center and takes him down. Gutsy throw.

There are a lot of other examples - those are just some I can think of off the top of my head that really hit home his toughness.

That's why when some people claim he's "scared" or whatever - I just roll my eyes and understand they either have an agenda or they just don't watch the games.

Ryan's ability to take a lick and still keep cool - and take the criticism and still stay driven is what will someday make him one of the best QBs in this league. We are fortunate to have this tough young fella behind center.

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I've seen threads on here from time to time talking about Ryan being "scared" or not "manning" up on the field. When I see those, I really have to wonder if that person has ever watched this kid in action?

I'm not talking about the game Sunday night. To me, that was just one more example in many. Some of our fans seem to think that this is the first time he's responded under pressure. That is so far from accurate that it's laughable.

I'm not going to go into every account of his mental and physical ability to get back up and keep going - but I wanted to list a few that have stood out to me personally over the past 3 years (plus these 2 games of course)

1. Bucs road game - Ryan's second professional game - He took an absolute physical and mental beating in that game. I'm not referring to the number of sacks he took - I'm talking about hits after his throw, hits as he threw, a defensive genius calling the shots on the road on the other side and a team that was attacking him full force all game. Not only that, his headset was not working - so he was not getting the signals from the sidelines. This, his second game.

Now - you might say - well, we didn't win that game. This is true. What I saw though, was a young QB really show his mental ability to overcome the most amazing odds and keep fighting right up until the end. I saw that we had a tough one. A guy who could take a bust in the mouth, spit it out and go out for the next play.

If you've forgotten just how this game really went down - don't look at the stats. By far his worst. Watch the game. Really watch the game. Watch how he comes out in the second half after being ground into hamburger the first half.

By the way - he hasn't lost another game to Tampa - but he always struggles with stats when he plays them. They are a tough defense - but he hangs in there the entire game - regardless of the hits - regardless of interceptions or sacks.

2. Carolina road game - Ryan's 4th professional game - Holy cow - another beating so soon? Peppers nearly knocked him unconscious in one hit. In fact, I believe Ryan called that his "Welcome to the NFL moment". He said he knew right then that he had to buckle his chin strap tighter and come up fighting. Another loss - but another example of a guy who did not give up.

3. Philadelphia road game - Ryan's 7th professional game - Ryan took a hit that had him down. I thought he must have broken a few ribs at the very least. Redman is warming up on the sidelines. Ryan waves him off - and trots back out there - ala Steve Young. Gutsy as you get.

4. 2009 - Ryan took a beating all year except for in a couple of games. After being hurt with turf toe (say what you want - but it has ended several athlete's careers), they expected he would be out for the remainder of the season. He came back, not cleared, to make sure we got our back to back winning seasons. Came into the Jets game - getting snowballs thrown at him against a very good Jets defense and led a victory drive down the field. Then he took care of the final 2 wins to give us our first back to back wins.

5. 2010 - Holy mackerel - I don't know where to begin. I can tell you that he was so abused and beat down in that 49er game, that I was shocked he kept coming back. They were brutalizing him all day - well after his throws. He was hit 21 times in that game - and most of them after the ball was in the air. After he threw an interception - which Roddy kindly got back for us, he led us down the field for a winning field goal. That was one of the gutsiest performances I've ever seen.

6. 2010 - Probably my favorite throw by Ryan ever occurred in the game against Cleveland. Again - Ryan was taking some hits - and he was rolling out when he needed to make plays. In the 2nd quarter - we were 3rd and 12 - and a defender lunged at him from behind and just grazed his feet. He took off to his right. He was on Falcons 26 yard line outside the numbers about 4 feet and a defender was coming straight at him - and there is no way he didn't know he was about to be creamed. He stood there and threw the ball across the field to Gonzo who was standing on the numbers on the opposite side of the field at the Browns 45 yard line. By my calculations, the ball traveled 29 feet in length and 50 feet across. That's almost 60 yards. Gonzo brought it in for the first. As soon as Matt released the ball - he was drilled - and I mean drilled. He knew it was coming - and still delivered. That is by far my favorite throw by him. He threw a 45 yard TD to Roddy in that game which didn't come close to this one.

If you want to see that play in Cleveland - go here - you'll find it right at the 1:00 minute mark in the Falcons/Browns highlights. Watch Ryan as he throws the ball - there is a defender in the air - hits him dead center and takes him down. Gutsy throw.

There are a lot of other examples - those are just some I can think of off the top of my head that really hit home his toughness.

That's why when some people claim he's "scared" or whatever - I just roll my eyes and understand they either have an agenda or they just don't watch the games.

Ryan's ability to take a lick and still keep cool - and take the criticism and still stay driven is what will someday make him one of the best QBs in this league. We are fortunate to have this tough young fella behind center.

I spoke up for Ryan before the Eagle game. The guy has a ton of heart. The lingering questions about arm strength, pocket presence, finding the right receiver, and most of all, winning a play-off game, he will get the opportunity to answer as the season progresses. I like the kid and really hope he gets it done. Far more deserving of success than some other QB's who have worn Falcons jerseys, fo sho.

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I think he is very tough. Extremely tough!

However, I think he shows that he is rattled at times and it's evident. It was clear he was rattled a little bit on Sunday, very clear. Maybe that's what people are referring to when they talk about his toughness. But, just like in that Tampa game you were talking about he works through it and comes out of it playing well. It's like he has to get his composure.

I will say this - in 09 - I think the Dallas game shook his confidence and he went into a slump for a few games. However, Dallas tore him up allllll daaaaaay loooooong . It was hard to watch. But, he worked through it and we got our first back to back winning seasons because of his toughness.

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Ryan is a tough kid and I admire that about him BUT, there's 2 sides to Ryan. I don't know why but when he puts his hands to his ears and gets plays, there's a look in his eyes like 'man I don't wanna be here' we all saw him him with the deer in headlights look against the Bears. but once you see him take his hands away from his ears, you know he's calling shots and then he has a totally different expression. he has fire in his eyes! I think somebody else noticed it in chat the other night too and made a comment about it. maybe he's a little more comfortable calling his own shots cause once he does, man the kid is special

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I think he is very tough. Extremely tough!

However, I think he shows that he is rattled at times and it's evident. It was clear he was rattled a little bit on Sunday, very clear. Maybe that's what people are referring to when they talk about his toughness. But, just like in that Tampa game you were talking about he works through it and comes out of it playing well. It's like he has to get his composure.

I will say this - in 09 - I think the Dallas game shook his confidence and he went into a slump for a few games. However, Dallas tore him up allllll daaaaaay loooooong . It was hard to watch. But, he worked through it and we got our first back to back winning seasons because of his toughness.

I think a lot of people mistake his frustration and competitiveness for being rattled. Ryan gets so hyped up - and when he's not making something happen - he gets all freaked out - as do many QBs. That is as much about his youth as anything. I've seen a slow but gradual maturation in that area from him in the past 3 years.

I didn't even go back to his College days - when he played on a broken foot for almost a whole season - or when he finished a basketball game with his head wrapped up - making the winning shot and then going to get 30 stitches in his head.

Here's a Boston College article:

It was a clean break across the foot. And that, as it turned out, was the encouraging news.

"The gap [where it broke] wasn't going to get any bigger," explained Boston College quarterback Matt Ryan. "It wasn't going to get any worse. It was all just a matter of tolerating the pain."

The injury occurred during a 22-3 victory over Virginia Tech last October. Adrenaline got him through the game, but afterward, the pain was excruciating. Dr. Diane English took an X-ray, confirmed the break, and presented Ryan with two choices: immediate surgery that would likely end his season, or waiting a few days to decide whether he could play through the pain.

Neither option seemed fair. Ryan was a model student, a top football player, a poised kid with unfailing manners. He was the nicest kid on campus -- except when he jammed on his football helmet.

"He's the kind of guy who is joking around in the locker room, but the minute you step into the field, he's all business," said his childhood friend Tony McDevitt. "I can remember running out to practice many times with him, and the best way I could describe him would be 'tense.' "

"He's a different kid when he gets on the field," confirmed new BC coach Jeff Jagodzinski. "I noticed it early on in spring ball. We were in the middle of a drill and one of the guys jumped offsides. Matt was all over him.

"You feel a lot better when you see that. If you didn't, you'd have concerns. The quarterback is supposed to be the leader."

Take a seat? He'll pass

Matt Ryan has been a leader since he was a little boy keeping in step with his big brother Mike and his friends. Some younger siblings are content to tag along, but Matt had no interest in lingering a step behind. He wanted -- expected -- to be in concert with boys who were bigger, stronger, and three years older.

"Matt was my 'keep up' kid," said his mother, Bernie Ryan. "He learned not to say too much. If you were younger, you could play as long as you were good enough, and as long as you didn't complain."

Didn't his broken foot fit under the same heading? He saw the concern on his parents' faces when he shuffled over to the sideline, as was his custom, to meet them after the Virginia Tech game. His mother expressed concern about playing on a broken bone. Her son nodded dutifully, but he knew if he ended his season, BC's hopes of earning a Bowl Championship Series bid would be in immediate jeopardy. The quarterback opted to gut it out and postpone surgery for when the season wasn't on the line.

Even so, how effective could he possibly be? He left the stadium on crutches. On Monday, he still couldn't walk. By Tuesday, he could apply a little pressure to his foot, but he doubled over in agony to accomplish that. On Wednesday, he was fitted for an orthotic that helped alleviate the jarring pain that had nauseated him throughout the week, but he was still in a cast. On Thursday, he could barely hobble up the stairs, but, he discovered, he could throw.

And that's when those close to him knew how this story would end: If he could throw, he would play.

"I have to say, he truly amazed me," said his father, Mike Ryan. "If it was me, you would have had to dig a hole on the side of the road and roll me into it."

The numbers from last season were impressive. Ryan completed 61.6 percent of his passes for 2,942 yards and 15 touchdowns, earning him first-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference honors. But just imagine what he could have done had he been able to play on both feet. Nine days after his injury, he limped out to knock off Florida State, 24-19.

"The first couple of weeks was the most intense pain," Ryan said. "I couldn't practice. When you run the West Coast offense, so much of it relies on timing. I couldn't take drops at all. I had to adjust my mechanics. When one thing goes wrong, everything tends to go out of whack.

"My body was all over the place just to stay on my feet. But I learned from it. When you're not able to stand on your left foot, you learn how to keep your body quiet."

Always in the mix

There are four children in the Ryan family, all athletes, and Bernie has learned to accept injuries as part of the landscape. She still vividly recalls the evening she showed up a few minutes late to Matt's high school basketball game at Penn Charter School in Philadelphia, and discovered her husband waiting for her in the lobby.

"He told me, 'Now Matt has some gauze and some tubing around his head, but we had to stop the bleeding so he could play,' " Bernie Ryan said. "Then he said, 'He'll need a few stitches afterward.' "

The "few" stitches amounted to 30. Ryan, who had absorbed an errant elbow to his face, stayed in, dropped in 15 points, and helped lead Penn Charter to victory.

"Matt was always in the mix of things," said high school basketball coach Jim Phillips. "He was the guy who got all the big rebounds. He was always defending, always willing to take a charge, always diving for the loose ball. He's one of the toughest competitors I've ever had."

His ability to knock down clutch 3-pointers, hit game-winning doubles, and throw the perfect spiral at the perfect moment earned him the nickname "Matty Ice."

Yet it was other intangibles that endeared him to his peers. McDevitt, who captained the football team at Penn Charter alongside Ryan, recalls the summer practices they arranged for teammates before the season.

"Our coaches weren't allowed to be involved, so it was up to us," McDevitt said. "We worked those kids hard. I remember one day in particular I was so wiped out. But Matt picked me up. He bonded us all together. He set the tone for our season."

Sealing a reputation

Nobody in Philly was surprised to see Ryan play with a broken foot. They are still talking at Penn Charter about the bone-crushing blow he absorbed against Clemson that knocked his helmet clear off his head. Naturally, Ryan returned to action.

McDevitt had already seen Matt Ryan recover in record time from an offseason car accident before his junior season of high school. Matt and Mike were coming home from a golf outing. Matt broke his leg, and Mike severely injured his shoulder.

Matt was projected to miss all of preseason and perhaps a chunk of the regular season. McDevitt marveled as his friend put himself through a grueling conditioning program to ensure he would take the first snap of the first game.

"I just so admired the way he prepared himself," said McDevitt, who has gone on to Duke and will serve as lacrosse captain next spring.

"Honestly," Ryan's high school football coach, Brian McCloskey, added, "he didn't miss a beat."

Ice sealed his reputation in the first game of his senior season against a strong Mainland (N.J.) team when he deked one defender, spun past another, then tucked the ball and ran 60 yards for a touchdown. It was a triumphant moment for Ryan, who absorbed incessant ribbing for his lack of mobility.

But by the time Ryan turned to celebrate with his teammates, the officials were whistling it back on a holding call.

"He came back to the huddle, and he was really tired," said McDevitt. "He was really ticked off, too. His face was beet red when he called the play. I had a feeling it was going to be a good one."

It was a passing play to receiver Sean Singletary, and Ryan wasn't looking for a first down. He was looking for his touchdown back. He threw a 60-yard bomb down the field and Singletary hauled it in for the score.

"I can't remember for sure, but it's quite possible Matt made that call himself," said McCloskey. "He had such a good command of our offense he often checked off at the line of scrimmage."

McCloskey remembers one Ryan audible in particular during a critical third-and-7 situation against rival Malvern Prep, where Matt's older brother had starred at quarterback.

McCloskey sent in a pass play, but as Ryan stepped to the line, he surveyed the field and called for a fullback dive.

"I'm on the sidelines screaming, 'What is he doing?' " McCloskey said. "But doesn't our fullback run for 15 yards."

Jagodzinski has already announced his new offense will present Ryan with more opportunities to check off at the line, as well as throw the long ball.

"He has excellent vision," Jagodzinski said. "He can see the whole field. In my first meeting with him, he reminded me so much of Matt Hasselbeck. Here was this bright-eyed, smart, personable guy. But he also reminds me of [Houston Texans quarterback] Matt Schaub. He carries himself the same way.

"He's calm, very workmanlike. He knows where to go with the ball. And he's accountable."

Competitive fire

The nicest kid on campus is tired of losing that one key game that would vault BC into a BCS bowl. He wants his final year at The Heights to be different.

"People want more," Ryan said. "There's nothing wrong with that. It's a nice, healthy thing."

Matt Ryan is healthy, too. His foot was surgically repaired in January, a relief after trudging through nearly an entire season in which his status was hazy.

"We actually got a kick out of it," said Mike Ryan. "All week before the games they would say Matt was a question mark. Well, I can tell you in his mind there never was any question."

If there's any doubt how Matty Ice is doing, be advised he accompanied Mike and his friends to a summer basketball game in Philly last month. The league was a competitive one, laced with former college players. The team the Ryan brothers played for scored 65 points -- and Matt had 57 of them.

Jagodzinski spent last season as the offensive coordinator for a quarterback named Brett Favre. He knows better than to ask Ryan to measure up to a surefire NFL Hall of Famer.

"But I tell you one thing," Jagodzinski said. "He might be just as tough."

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Ryan is a tough kid and I admire that about him BUT, there's 2 sides to Ryan. I don't know why but when he puts his hands to his ears and gets plays, there's a look in his eyes like 'man I don't wanna be here' we all saw him him with the deer in headlights look against the Bears. but once you see him take his hands away from his ears, you know he's calling shots and then he has a totally different expression. he has fire in his eyes! I think somebody else noticed it in chat the other night too and made a comment about it. maybe he's a little more comfortable calling his own shots cause once he does, man the kid is special

Everything about Ryan is competitive on the field and I've never, ever, ever seen fear in his eyes. I've seen desperation, frustration and worry when he's not getting the job done - usually followed at some point by total concentration. He can't stand to fail at something he's doing - it's in his DNA - and in everything you ever see about the kid's makeup confirms that.

I think a lot of people mistake desperation for fear. I see absolute frustration and desperation when he's not effective. Let him get control and make some plays - he calms down and the ice takes over.

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Cris colinsworth from Eagles game, "He (Ryan) is anticipating the pressure before it gets there and throwing the ball before he has to. As a QB you need to stand there in the face of pressure and make a good throw. Vick has been doing that all game.....quote for 6 minutes into 3rd qtr.

You can argue he's tough, but if he plays scared and thus makes bad throws that guys have to make circus catches to bring in, then maybe the backup QB would be better at that point?

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Cris colinsworth from Eagles game, "He (Ryan) is anticipating the pressure before it gets there and throwing the ball before he has to. As a QB you need to stand there in the face of pressure and make a good throw. Vick has been doing that all game.....quote for 6 minutes into 3rd qtr.

You can argue he's tough, but if he plays scared and thus makes bad throws that guys have to make circus catches to bring in, then maybe the backup QB would be better at that point?

Dude - you make no sense at all. Anyone quoting Collinsworth - the most unintuitive man in Broadcasting - has as much credibility as a Saints fan....... oh wait.....

Go back and watch the game in the Superdome against the Saints last year - watch Brees make stupid moves which result in interceptions when under pressure. Then STFU!

Better yet - put Brees behind our line for a couple of games - watch him curl up in the fetal position and cry.

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Dude - you make no sense at all. Anyone quoting Collinsworth - the most unintuitive man in Broadcasting - has as much credibility as a Saints fan....... oh wait.....

Go back and watch the game in the Superdome against the Saints last year - watch Brees make stupid moves which result in interceptions when under pressure. Then STFU!

Better yet - put Brees behind our line for a couple of games - watch him curl up in the fetal position and cry.

Wow granny, "STFU" , what kind of language is that for a lady...oh wait..... Looks like you trailer park is showing,

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I know. It's absolutely amazing that he only missed 2 starts. Deion says that is a horrible injury. Especially considering it was on his plant foot.

Good answer. :P My friend who is friends with Matt ... I texted her after that Tampa game to ask if she knew anything, and she was unequivocal: "He's done for the season. The doctors told him that the nature of the injury won't allow him to come back." Turf toe is a h*ll of a lot more serious and painful than its stupid name suggests.

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Tandy there is a difference playing corner   elite which Deion was then playing QB with turf Toe .. I see  Bryon Leftwitch play with a broken ankle ..You can do that at QB position . We seen last wee  Tony Romo  play with a puncture lung and broken rib ..Again  turf toe is a rough injury for a skilled position player..As a QB you can sit back in the pocket and DEAL with the pain ..Its not like Ryan is mobile

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Tandy there is a difference playing corner elite which Deion was then playing QB with turf Toe .. I see Bryon Leftwitch play with a broken ankle ..You can do that at QB position . We seen last wee Tony Romo play with a puncture lung and broken rib ..Again turf toe is a rough injury for a skilled position player..As a QB you can sit back in the pocket and DEAL with the pain ..Its not like Ryan is mobile

Swift, I like you - but you are just dead wrong on this - so I'm going to say we'll disagree.

Every expert and athlete that has gone through it was totally amazed he came back. I'm going to have to side with them on this.

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I think Matt is very tough and he's gonna need to learn to be even tougher if he wants to make it through this season seein as how our O-Line is leavin him high and dry

He's made it through the last 2 with the line just as bad. Shows more when we face really good defenses though - like the last 2.

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How come  I cant use the quote   button ?  I like you Tandy to  and Ryan did take a  beating and fought through it Sunday  we as fans need to stop trying to pin these medals on players..How tough is Matt Ryan  etc ..Its only going to lead to bad karma ..Thats your opinion you are very pro Ryan  ..I saw Ryan sit out 2 games during 09' season where we had a shot to make the playoffs. Just like I saw  Vick take his sweet ***  time getting back from his broken fibula in 05' season.. You  put me back there  for 32 million dollars (how much Ryan made this year)  you owe that to the fans (us)  who pay your paycheck to gut  it out ..Take a hit and get back up..This is the game of football.

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