NFC Notes: Falcons, Panthers, Saints, Michael Thomas


Former Falcons QB Matt Ryan has been quite diplomatic about his exit from Atlanta after the team flirted with trading for Deshaun Watson. Others close to him don’t feel the need to tiptoe around the subject. 

“Nobody wants to go through that and feel disrespected,” said former Falcons C Todd McClure, a longtime friend of Ryan‘s, via ESPN’s Stephen Holder. “I love my Falcons, but the way that whole deal went down was a slap in the face.”

Ryan admits he knew his time with the Falcons would end eventually, and few players every get storybook endings. He has a chance to write one, however, on a better team with the Colts. 

“I’m not naïve,” Ryan said. “I know how this business works.”

“There comes a time where [change] might be best,” he added. 

  • The Falcons worked out four players on Tuesday including OL Bam Olaseni, OT Sebastian Gutierrez, OT Austen Pleasants and CB Dylan Mabin. (Aaron Wilson)
  • Of this group, Atlanta signed Mabin to their practice squad. 


  • PFN’s Mike Kaye, citing a league source, reports Panthers WR Andre Roberts suffered a PCL sprain that won’t require surgery.
  • Kaye writes Roberts could return in the second half of this season. 
  • Panthers HC Matt Rhule told reporters Roberts will miss about two months with a knee injury. (David Newton)


Saints WR Michael Thomas has had a rough two years since injuring his ankle in Week 1 of the 2020 season. He made his successful return to the field on Sunday with two touchdown catches in New Orlean’s comeback win over the Falcons, and the weight that was off his shoulders post-game was palpable. 

“You can’t take it for granted,” Thomas said via ESPN’s Mike Triplett. “Once the Saints offered me my second deal [before the 2019 season], that was an agreement to be out here, to add value to this team, to keep the Saints hanging banners and competing for championships. And I have a big role on this team. So, to not be out there and add that value, whenever you get that second chance I always told myself to take full advantage of it and find a way to always give back.”

It wasn’t just the injury and the various setbacks working back from that. The relationship between Thomas and the team hit a rough patch last year over Thomas’ decision to try rehab first instead of surgery. Thomas now says that was blown out of proportion and the two sides are great. 

“People have to try and create stories, which I guess that comes with being who you are. But outside of that, a lot of that stuff is just foolish. It’s a lot of ‘he said, she said’ and stuff you can’t control,” Thomas said. “They even tried to do it with me and Sean Payton and all that. I still have a great relationship with Sean. I have a ton of respect for all my coaches. I was raised in a household with a family that’s big on respect.”

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