Lions’ Stafford, Falcons’ Ryan forged friendship in Atlanta

Josh Katzenstein
The Detroit News
Matt Ryan and Matthew Stafford shake hands after the Lions-Falcons game at Ford Field in 2011.

San Francisco -- Matthew Stafford’s wife posted a photo on Instagram this week of the couple working out with Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan, his wife Sarah and singer Carrie Underwood.

As it turns out, the two quarterbacks see each other regularly with Stafford having an offseason home in Atlanta.

“I see him fairly regularly during the offseason, run into him different places, play golf, etc.,” Ryan said on Super Bowl's radio row Wednesday. “I got to know him well at the Pro Bowl last year, and it just turns out he lives literally two minutes away from me.”

Besides living in Atlanta, Stafford and Ryan have a fair amount in common. Ryan was a first-round pick in 2008, third overall, and Stafford went first overall in 2009. Both quarterbacks have also spent their career playing with top-flight receivers, Julio Jones and Roddy White for Jones and Calvin Johnson for Stafford.

“There’s definitely stuff that you can pick each other’s brains about,” Ryan said.