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QB Ryan returns to practice after ‘family matter’

The Associated Press

Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan watches during warmups before Saturday’s wild-card playoff game against the Rams.

The Associated PressFLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) — Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan said he’ll be ready for Saturday’s NFC divisional playoff game at Philadelphia after missing Tuesday’s practice for personal reasons.

Ryan was back with the team for Wednesday’s practice. He didn’t disclose details of his absence, but indicated he was attending to a family matter.

“I just want to thank everybody for their support and outreach. It means a lot to me,” Ryan said. “I’ve always tried to keep my family life private and I hope you can respect that and I’d like to continue to do that moving forward.”

Ryan and his wife, Sarah, announced in November they expect to become first-time parents in April with twins.

Coach Dan Quinn said Wednesday there were “no setbacks for him or for us” because of Ryan’s excused absence on Tuesday, when the game plan was installed.

“He is one of the best competitors and most professional ballplayers I’ve ever been around, so no adjustment for that,” Quinn said. “We’re fortunate he’s back here today and back into it.”

Ryan attended Tuesday’s team meeting before missing practice.

“I was able to get the game plan and kind of get the information I needed yesterday,” Ryan said. “I’ll be very well prepared for the game on Saturday.”

The Eagles (13-3) are the No. 1 seed in the NFC. The Falcons (11-6) beat the Los Angeles Rams 26-13 in a wild-card game last week.

For Ryan, a native of Philadelphia, Saturday’s game is a homecoming.

“I’m used to it now,” he said. “The one nice part is there will be a lot of familiar faces, friendly faces after the game, which is always nice.”

Injured Shazier visits Steelers

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Pittsburgh Steelers Pro Bowl linebacker Ryan Shazier has attended practice for the first time since injuring his spine against Cincinnati last month.

Shazier posted a photo on Instagram on Wednesday afternoon from the team’s indoor training facility as Pittsburgh prepared to host Jacksonville in the divisional round of the playoffs. Shazier, who underwent spine stabilization surgery on Dec. 6, is pictured in a wheelchair wearing sweatpants and a Steelers jacket.

The extent of Shazier’s injury has not been released. He called his visit to the facility “a first down” in his recovery. Speech

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