Falcons QB talks to Emory Law students

By Breckyn Wood | Emory Law | Oct. 24, 2013

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Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan talks to students at Emory Law. Photos by Leah and Mark Photography.

When Deb Floyd, director of student affairs at Emory Law, entered Xfinity's "Huddle up with Matt Ryan" contest featured on WSB-TV, she was hoping to win an Atlanta Falcon jersey or maybe some tickets to a game, if she was lucky. Instead, she got Falcons starting quarterback Matt Ryan himself.

Atlanta Falcons QB Matt Ryan

Deb Floyd, director of student affairs at Emory Law, poses with Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan and Dean Robert Schapiro.

"I just couldn't believe it," she says about receiving the call. "I told them, 'You've got to be kidding. I never win anything!'"

The contest officials gave Floyd three options for her grand prize: she could go out to dinner with Ryan, go golfing with him, or have him come to her children's school to speak. "Will he come speak to my 900 children?" asked Floyd with a smile.

Floyd chose the third option, arranging to have Ryan come to Emory Law on Tuesday, Oct. 22 to speak with members of the Sports and Entertainment Law Society plus the first 60 students to RSVP to a special email announcement. Those 60 spots were gone in less than 10 minutes.

In a Q&A session, students asked Ryan about everything ranging from his weekly routine to his favorite places to eat around Atlanta. (The Philadelphia native's answer? Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q.)

Ryan fielded some law-related questions, often deferring to his agent, Mark Heligman from Creative Artists Agency. When asked how often they have to renegotiate his contract, Ryan and his agent surprised the roomful of prospective lawyers with their answers. "Literally, the first time I've worked with my lawyers since my rookie year on contract stuff was this year," said Ryan. "And other than that, it never comes up." Heligman gave a similar answer, adding: "But in the interim I'm working on off-the-field opportunities for Matt: promotional opportunities, charity work, maybe speaking."

Being an agent for a professional athlete also takes a lot of legwork, handling the behind-the-scenes work, allowing the athlete to focus on the game. 

After the talk, Ryan signed jerseys, footballs and hats. Floyd and others gave him an Emory baseball cap, T-shirt, and water bottle to remember his visit.