Colts’ Matt Ryan shocked by benching, says he’s ‘disappointed’


Indianapolis Colts quarterback Matt Ryan spoke during a locker-room session with reporters just two days after the team said he would lose his starting role and be replaced by Sam Ehlinger.

Ryan said he was somewhat “shocked” by the decision and was personally “disappointed.”

Head coach Frank Reich announced Monday that the veteran quarterback would sit on the bench for the remainder of the season behind former Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger following the Indianapolis Colts’ 19-0 loss to the Tennessee Titans.

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Ehlinger was taken in the sixth round of last year’s draft. He will get his first career start in the NFL start on Sunday against the Washington Commanders.

The usual durable Ryan suffered a grade 2 shoulder sprain, Reich told reporters.

Over his 14 years as a starter with the Atlanta Falcons Ryan only missed three games due to injury, with two of those missed starts coming during his second year in the league.

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Reich said veteran quarterback Nick Foles will back up Ehlinger. Reich also made it clear that even when Ryan has recovered from the injury, he will not return as the team’s starter this year.

“Right now, the move is for Sam to be the starter for the rest of the season,” the coach noted.

Ryan joined the Colts after an offseason trade with the Falcons. Indianapolis sent a third-round draft pick to Atlanta in exchange for the longtime starting quarterback’s services.

The Colts have been searching for a quarterback to bring stability to the franchise ever since the early retirement of former No. 1 pick Andrew Luck prior to the start of the 2019 season.

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In 2019, quarterback Jacoby Brissett primarily handled the Colts’ starting duties after Scott Tolzien was benched.

The next season, the Colts signed free-agent veteran quarterback Philips Rivers to a one-year contract. Rivers led the team to the playoffs in 2020 but lost in the wild-card round. Carson Wentz became the team’s starter in 2021 but was traded to the Washington Commanders prior to the start of the 2022 season.

Ryan was named the NFL MVP in 2016 and is a four-time Pro Bower. He led the Falcons to a Super Bowl appearance in the 2016-2017 season.

So far this season, Ryan has thrown for 2,008 yards with nine touchdowns. He leads the NFL with nine interceptions.

Ehlinger enjoyed a rather notable preseason in which he completed 24-of-29 passes for 289 yards and four touchdowns. He did not throw an interception during the preseason.

Ryan said he is not seeking a trade.

Just two days after Colts’ Matt Ryan learned he would be sitting on the bench for the foreseeable future, he told reporters he would still support the team despite his disappointment.

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