JACKSONVILLE – Former Falcons quarterback Chris Redman was stunned by his release from the team on Tuesday, but he wishes his former teammates well.
“It was a big surprise for me,” Redman said via phone from Louisville on Thursday. “I didn’t really expect it. But the unexpected is part of the NFL. They made their decisions. So that’s the way it is. You have to live with it. We’ll just have to carry on and see what happens with my future. If it’s over, it’s been great.”
One day, Redman, 35, will be able to sit back on his deck and spin a wonderful tale about how he went from NFL starter to selling insurance and back to NFL starter starting on Monday Night Football.
He was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in the third-round (75th overall) of the 2000 draft out of Louisville. He played four seasons before back and shoulder injuries knocked him out of the league.
After being out of football for two seasons, he was signed by the Falcons on March 23, 2007. At the time, it was a common thought that he was signed by his former college coach Bobby Petrino to help teach Michael Vick the offense.
But during that chaotic season, Vick and Petrino would not be standing in the locker room at the end of the season while Redman finished off the campaign, starting the final four games.
He threw for four touchdown passes in a wild 44-41 victory over playoff-bound Seattle in the season finale on Dec. 30, 2007.
“I went from selling insurance to playing on Monday Night twice within one year,” Redman said. “I worked really hard to get back in the NFL when I was out, rehabbing my shoulder and my back. To get back out there and play well, it was not only a lot of hard work, but a lot of help from the doctors and the trainers to get me back on the field. I really appreciate everyone for everything they did.”
He remembers the Seattle game fondly.
“That was a playoff team that we beat,” Redman said. “Those kind of things were a big positive. To help the team, which was having a tough time coming in, and play pretty good, I think that was fun with that team given everything that we went through.”
Redman believes that he made the most out of the opportunity Petrino gave him to resurrect his career.
“I had to earn everything that I got,” Redman said. “When I got my chance, I earned it. That was great. I went from never thinking I was going to play again, to the next thing, you’re starting within that year. It was crazy.”
After the 2007 season, Redman next helped the Falcons through the 2009 season when Matt Ryan went down with a turf toe injury. He tossed a game-winning touchdown pass to Roddy White in the final minutes to pull out a 20-17 victory over Tampa Bay on Nov. 29. 2009.
He dropped starts against Philadelphia and New Orleans, but the win in relief of Ryan over Tampa Bay helped the franchise snap their streak of never posting back-to-back winning seasons until 2009.
Overall with the Falcons, Redman played in 20 games and posted a 1-5 record in six starts.
In 2008, he could sense the tide turning for the franchise just a year removed from Vick’s federal dogfighting scandal and Petrino’s exit for Arkansas after just 13 games.
“Coach [Mike] Smith came in and brought Matt in,” Redman said. “I developed a great relationship with Matt and went to the playoffs with this team. That first year was a really fun year. I got to be really close with a lot of the coaches and a lot of the players. It was a special time.”
He believes the Falcons, who replaced him on the roster with quarterback Luke McCown, are headed toward big things.
“I think it’s just a matter of time before Atlanta will be holding up a championship trophy,” Redman said. “I’m just disappointed that I didn’t get the chance to hold up the trophy with them. But at the same time I’ll be pulling for them and for all of my buddies out there playing.”
Redman doesn’t plan to stand around waiting for the phone to ring.
“I’m just going to play it by ear,” he said. “It’s a great time to spend with my family. I’m having a good time at home. I’m really enjoying being around my kids, my family and my parents back here in Louisville. If something comes up, great. But if not, I’m in a good place. …Whether if I play again or not, I’ve had a fun time in the NFL.”
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