Falcons' Jake Matthews leaves for birth of child, set to return for TNF

Falcons' Jake Matthews leaves for birth of child, hopes to return for TNF originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

It's been a busy Thursday for Atlanta Falcons left tackle Jake Matthews.

With the Falcons in North Carolina for their Thursday Night Football matchup against the Carolina Panthers, Matthews had to catch a morning flight home to Atlanta because his wife went into labor with the couple's first child, according to Cameron Wolfe of NFL Media.

The hope was that Matthews would return to Atlanta in time for the birth of the baby and then fly back in time for the start of the game.

Matthews woke up to 10 missed calls after his wife went into labor at 5 a.m., Wolfe said.

With the baby having been born in the afternoon, Falcons owner Arthur Blank is picking Matthews up in Gainsville, Ga. and flying him to Charlotte, according to Wolfe.

Had Matthews been unable to play, his iron man streak of consecutive games played would have been snapped, albeit for a very good reason.

The 30-year-old Matthews has missed just one game since being drafted sixth overall in the 2014 NFL Draft, that came in his rookie season. He has since started 141 straight games, including the postseason.

The Falcons' offensive line already is shorthanded without Elijah Wilkinson and Matt Hennessy, who are both on injured reserve. Chuma Edoga or Germain Ifedi likely would be in line for the start if Matthews was unable to play in what is an important division game, despite both teams being under .500.

The Falcons are tied for first place in the NFC South with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at 4-5.