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Falcons QB Matt Ryan wanted deal done before camp

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The last time Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan experienced the uncertainty of a contract extension, the discussions lingered just before the start of training camp in 2013.

This time around, Ryan had a preference to avoid any outside distractions before signing a blockbuster five-year, $150 million deal with $100 million guaranteed last week.

"I think it was for both sides wanting to try and get it done, and be able to have the focus on football when we got to training camp, for sure," Ryan told reporters during a Monday afternoon press conference. "And so, I'm happy with the timing of it.

"I think the organization is very happy with the timing of it, and certainly when we get back to training camp it's 100 percent about football and even this morning, it's 100 percent about football. I always felt confident that it was going to get done in a smooth way and in a timely manner, and I feel like it did."

Ryan, who turns 33 on May 17, became the NFL's first quarterback to earn $30 million a year and he has done his part on the football field to command the lucrative deal.

Since entering the league out of Boston College as the third overall pick of the 2008 NFL Draft, Ryan has completed 3,630 of 5,593 passes (64.9 percent) for 41,796 yards and 260 touchdowns with 126 interceptions.

Ryan is 95-63 as a starter and has led the Falcons to three NFC South titles and the playoffs in six of the past 10 seasons, including the Super Bowl in 2016. He was selected to four Pro Bowls (2010, 2012, 2014, 2016) and garnered a first-team All-Pro selection and the NFL's MVP in 2016 after passing for 4,944 yards and 38 touchdowns, both career highs.

Ryan, however, doesn't view his record-setting contract for a quarterback as a reward for his accomplishments.

Instead, he views the deal as motivation to remain among the league's elite quarterbacks.

"I think it's more so than anything, I think it's incentive," Ryan said. "I've always felt like your job as a player is to go earn every dollar and have that mindset that every day you wake up it's about working as hard as you possibly can. So, I guess it's more incentive for me moving forward to play my best football as I continue to mature in this league."

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