TEMPE, Ariz. — If you think Arizona Cardinals’ linebacker John Abraham is excited about the chance to finally hit Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan, you are wrong.
“I don’t worry about the quarterbacks, I worry about the person in front of me,” Abraham said. “I worry about the tackles, and I know the tackles real good.”
The last part was said with a wink, as Abraham added that he is fond of quarterbacks because they are the reason he gets paid.
“If I meet them I’m having a good day, right,” he asked with a smile.
Abraham, who spent the previous seven years of his career in Atlanta before signing with the Cardinals this season, will be expected to help limit the damage a quarterback like Ryan can do. The sixth-year pro is completing 70.1 percent of his passes this season for 1,922 yards and 13 touchdowns with just three interceptions.
He’s developed into one of the elite passers in football, and the best way to stop him will be to get to him. Which is where Abraham, who earned his first two sacks of the season last week against Seattle, comes in.
And you better believe the Falcons are ready for him.
“We know John very well,” Atlanta coach Mike Smith said Wednesday. “He knows our guys, and we look forward to going out and competing against him.”
Smith said Abraham is “one of the more competitive guys” he’s been around, though the linebacker is not taking any extra motivation from the idea of proving something to the team that released him in March.
“I think I’ve proved myself in my career; 14 years and still playing, I don’t think I’ve got to prove nothing to them, they saw seven years of what I’ve got,” Abraham said.
That said, the 35-year-old admitted he always thought he would end his career in Atlanta, so the organization letting him go did hurt.
“At the same time it’s a business thing,” he said. “And I’ve moved on, I’m here now.”
And if all goes according to plan, he’ll be around Ryan quite a bit Sunday at University of Phoenix Stadium.