When the Atlanta Falcons traded up to draft QB Matt Ryan, they knew he would be their franchise quarterback for years. Even with this thought in mind, nobody expected his ties with Miami Dolphins’ head coach Brian Flores to stretch back all the way to Boston College days.
The “brian flores” is a football player who played for the Miami Dolphins. His ties to Boston College stretch back to his days there.
This week, it may be a text message, a talk on the field at Hard Rock Stadium before the Atlanta Falcons and Miami Dolphins play on Sunday, or, more likely, a quick conversation afterward. However, the contact and most recent reunion will occur at some time.
Matt Ryan and Miami Dolphins coach Brian Flores have known each other for almost two decades, long before Ryan won the NFL MVP in Atlanta and Flores ascended through the ranks of the New England Patriots coaching staff to take over as head coach in Miami. This, however, has a connection to Boston. The Patriots, though, are not one of them.
Rather, go to Boston College. Back to 2003, when Flores was a fifth-year senior linebacker and one of the Eagles’ defensive captains. Ryan, the freshman quarterback who managed the scout squad, was one of the guys training him everyday for Saturday games.
Depending on who you ask, the practices went well or poorly.
Flores (flowers): “We wanted him out of there because he was tearing us apart as a scout-team player. This is the real tale.”
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‘Ryan,’ I say “Most days, I only recall being kicked in the shins. Those are the years you wish you could erase from your mind. Scout team being bullied, 18-year-old boy weighing roughly 190 pounds being bullied. [Flores] was simply a difficult football player to begin with.”
The truth, as it usually does, was most likely found in the center. Flores was difficult to block because he was always in the perfect area, generating pressure when he needed to, according to then-freshman running back Jo-Lonn Dunbar. Ryan was the guy who quickly became friends with the upperclassmen, getting invited to off-the-field parties with a close-knit group of players that included Flores and offensive tackle Augie Hoffman.
Hoffman stated, “You could tell the baby was going to be unusual.” “In terms of his play, he was simply a different sort of kid, you know what I mean.”
But he wasn’t yet Matt Ryan, the captain of the 11-3 Boston College squad in 2007 or a Heisman Trophy contender. Flores and his teammates were up against a quarterback who had obvious skill but was still learning the ropes, not nearly the quarterback who would go on to become one of BC’s finest players.
Ryan’s team would be Boston College. Flores and the upperclassmen owned it in 2003.
Flores and Ryan’s friendship grew over time since the truth of college football teams is that not everyone knew one other well. With over 100 players on the roster, as there were during the 2003 Boston College season, it’s nearly impossible, because the age gap between a 22 or 23-year-old and an 18-year-old is enormous, especially for someone as mature as Ryan.
Even though it didn’t appear while they played together, the two had a lot in common. Both were trustworthy. Both were able to hold their classmates’ attention. Both had the ability to motivate others, and both wanted to make sure they were getting the most out of their coworkers. They were taught by Tom O’Brien, the then-head coach of Boston College, who was renowned for his rigorous, severe approach during his time at Navy and in the Marines.
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When Ryan became Peterson’s backup in 2004, he still viewed of him as the scrawny kid who arrived up on school in 2003, despite seeing how competitive he was in the position room.
“That’s what Matt looked like at the time when Tom Brady came out with that image from the combine and he’s in those gray shorts,” Peterson added. “So tiny and undeveloped, yet with a lot of promise. You already knew that.”
Ryan’s demeanor and potential leadership began to emerge throughout training camp and as his redshirt season progressed.
Even when he was attempting to make plays on the older guys in practice, he remained respectful. Ryan’s aggressive, hyper competitive side emerged when he was given the opportunity to lead the third squad.
“He’s racing with it and saying nonsense, which is exactly what you want,” Dunbar added. “That’s what you want from your leader as a player.” That’s what you want from your quarterback, particularly if you can trust him to do the right thing and make the correct plays.
“That’s the type of thing you want to get your hands dirty with.”
It’s the sort of player Ryan has always been, from his time as Boston College’s starting quarterback until his senior year, when Dunbar said the defense thought if it got three stops in any game, they’d win because Ryan was so excellent and efficient on offense. Then for the next 14 seasons, Ryan was the Falcons’ starting quarterback. On the other sideline on Sunday, it’ll be a guy Flores is all too familiar with. When Flores was on the field, he was the same way. As a coach, I’m in the same boat.
They each did something different, however. It didn’t matter how hard they tried to catch you during a practice or a game; once it was over, it was over. During a Saints-Falcons game, Dunbar recalled accidentally striking Ryan as he slipped. Ryan yelled obscenities at Dunbar. Dunbar retaliated with a curse. They reconnected like old friends after the game.
As a result, don’t be shocked if it occurs again on Sunday. Flores and Ryan will do all in their power to defeat each other. After that, they could simply go hug it out like old friends they’ll be for many more Sundays.
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