Roddy White predicts at least seven more years left in Matt Ryan's career

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan's attendance at Roddy White's retirement ceremony certainly stirred thoughts about the future.

The 32-year-old Ryan, who addressed longevity prior to facing 39-year-old and 17-year veteran Tom Brady in the Super Bowl, discussed the topic again as it related to his good friend White.

"It is always a little bit, 'Yeah, I'm not that young anymore,' when you see some of those guys retire," said Ryan, who is heading into his 10th NFL season. "But I still feel really good. I still feel like I've got a lot of football in front of me. And hopefully, I can play for a long time."

White has an idea of how much longer Ryan will be play.

"He's a quarterback, and they play forever," said White, who played 11 seasons -- all with the Falcons. "Matt can play at least seven more years."

That falls in line with the kind of career Ryan envisioned when he first entered the league in 2008.

"You hope for one of those 15- or 20-year careers, for sure," Ryan said. "That's what the hope is. But the one thing that I found during my time in this league is that if you project too far out, it's tough to do that because things change constantly. I'm thankful that I'm healthy. I'm thankful that I've had the experience that I've had up until this point. And I'm going to do everything I can to make it last as long as I can."

Buffalo Bills quarterback T.J. Yates, who spent time with the Falcons, can tell you firsthand why Ryan is likely to stick around longer than most of his NFL peers.

"I can see him playing for a very long time because most people don't know that Matt is a workout warrior and extremely strong in the weight room," Yates said. "He doesn't do the typical QB workouts. He squats. He power cleans; dead lifts. All that. All of that attributes to his durability and will give him longevity. And the year I played with him, I learned more about leadership from him than anything."

Ryan has taken good care of his body over the years and has remained healthy; the veteran QB has not missed a game since December 2009. Plus, the Falcons now have a nutritionist in Marie Spano who is assisting all players, including Ryan, in finding ways to get even more out of their bodies.

"Marie's been great," Ryan said. "She's done a great job for us. You know, it's little things here and there. For me, one of the biggest things is trying to limit inflammation. I think as much stress and as hard as we work and as taxing as it is on the body, you need to do everything you can to minimize inflammation, and she's been really helpful with that."