INDIANAPOLIS — Matt Ryan came to work Monday morning planning to rehab his sore right shoulder and turn his attention to the Washington Commanders.
But the Indianapolis Colts quarterback was instead hit with the stunning news that he had lost his starting job to 2021 sixth-round pick Sam Ehlinger.
“As a player, you just always anticipate, you’re getting ready, you’re gonna go,” Ryan said Wednesday in his first comments since the Colts’ decision. “And so that’s where your mindset’s at. There is a little bit surprise and shock at the beginning, but it’s a decision they had to make and, as a player, as a teammate, you have to move forward and you’ve gotta help out where you can.”
Ryan has missed just three starts in his 15-year career and has never been a backup, even in his rookie season with the Atlanta Falcons. But after committing 12 turnovers in his first seven games in Indianapolis, he now finds himself sitting behind a 24-year-old who has never thrown a pass in a regular-season game — a position Ryan will hold even after he returns from his separated shoulder, according to coach Frank Reich.
“It’s not something I’ve dealt with,” Ryan said of being a backup. “But I’ve been around a long time and seen that it happens.
“So I’ve always preached that you’ve gotta accept and embrace the role that they decide for you and try and be the best in that role that you can be. And that’s what I’ll do.”
Reich, asked why the Colts are making such a dramatic move in spite of their 3-3-1 record and second-place standing in the AFC South, rejected the idea that Indianapolis is giving up on the season.
“I can tell you this for sure: Nobody is waving the white flag,” Reich said. “It’s not in my DNA. It’s not in our players’ DNA. I would never do that in a million years. I just couldn’t do that.”
As for the team’s reaction to the quarterback decision, center Ryan Kelly suggested the response was mixed.
“Everybody’s got their own opinions about it,” Kelly said. “I’m not gonna get into mine, but certainly, I think everybody’s a little bit surprised. So it is what it is.”