FLOWERY BRANCH - There's no question Boston is Tom Brady's town, but another favorite son is returning for what he hopes will be a successful homecoming.
Former Boston College standout Matt Ryan returns to Foxborough on Sunday as a rising star for the Atlanta Falcons, who will face Brady's New England Patriots.
Ryan, the 2008 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, has enjoyed a strong start for the 2-0 Falcons and is coming off his first career game with three touchdown passes.
Falcons fullback Ovie Mughelli predicted on Wednesday that Ryan's No. 2 jersey 'will be everywhere' at Gillette Stadium. Ryan wasn't so certain.
'I'm sure there will be some people from up there who remember the time at BC and were fans of BC, but having said that, they are loyal fans up there, too,' Ryan said. 'They love their Patriots. I'm not expecting to see too many No. 2 jerseys running around up there.'
Ryan added that Boston 'is certainly a place that I love, and I had a great experience in college.'
Ryan said he never visited a Patriots practice while at Boston College and has never met Brady. But he said he relished the chance to watch Brady win two Super Bowls during his time at BC.
'It was pretty cool to watch, no doubt about it,' Ryan said. 'They had a great run while I was in college. His play was certainly unbelievable. It was a great time to be a quarterback in that area, to be a college quarterback and to watch what Tom was doing. I've always been impressed with how well he has played and how he has handled himself.'
Ryan impressed with his play and cool demeanor last year, when he started every game as a rookie and led the Falcons to 11 wins and a playoff berth.
He is on pace to improve on 2008, when he completed 61 percent of his passes for 16 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Through two wins, he has completed 68.3 percent (43 of 63) for 449 yards, five touchdowns and one interception.
'His jump from last year to this year couldn't have been that big because of where he was before,' said Falcons center Todd McClure. 'But every year he can get better and that's scary because he's already a pretty good player.'