Originally posted on NESN.com  |  Last updated 1/18/13
Matt Bryant really made a name for himself on Sunday by nailing a game-winning, 49-yard field goal to put the Falcons in the NFC Championship. It appears Bryant was already well-known in reptile circles, however. Bryant, who has been called Atlanta’s other “Matty Ice” — in addition to quarterback Matt Ryan — in the wake of Sunday’s thrilling victory, apparently has the weird ability to interact with alligators. “I was watching the National Geographic Channel one day, and heard them mimicking the mating sound that brings an alligator,” Bryant told USA Today on Thursday. “So I figured I’d try and mimic the sound. Sure enough, a baby alligator came up from a retention pond behind our Tampa home.” While that’s an interesting story Mr. Bryant has, it had to have been a coincidence, right? Well, not if the rest of the kicker’s stories hold up. In fact, Bryant’s knack for chirping with gators has earned him the nickname, “Alligator Whisperer,” and he can often be seen showing off his talent on the golf course. “If I’m not having a very good round, I’ll say, ‘Hey, watch this’ and do the alligator call,” Bryant reportedly said. “I did it a couple of times at [Falcons owner] Mr. [Arthur] Blank‘s outing. The biggest one that came up from the pond was probably between 6 and 7 feet.” Surely, Falcons coach Mike Smith and Bryant’s teammates would likely prefer if the kicker stuck to honing his game, rather than chasing around alligators. And fortunately for them, it looks as if Bryant will take that advice, as he has vowed to put his gator escapades on the back burner in the wake of a rather close encounter. “We were in Cancun for an event and were playing golf when we heard something thrashing in the mangroves,” Bryant said. “I did the sound and, all of a sudden, the thrashing stopped. And from me to where Tony Gonzalez‘s locker is (12-feet away), a saltwater croc stuck his head up. He was a 12- to 14-footer. He scared everybody, scared me. So I stopped making the sounds. “I’ll talk with them now. But it’s from a distance.” That’s probably a good idea, Matt. Photo of the Day He did it! Quote of the Day “This story was so perfect for so long. It’s this myth, this perfect story, and it wasn’t true. I viewed this situation as one big lie that I repeated a lot of times, and as you said, it wasn’t as if I just said no and I moved off it.” –Lance Armstrong, professional fraud Tweet of the Day Oh boy. @nesn please ask Mayor Menino to do play by play. One night. Any sport. I need the laughs – and the brain workout. — Kathleen Flaherty (@ConnConnection) January 18, 2013 Video of the Day Now that wasn’t very smart.

This article first appeared on NESN.com and was syndicated with permission.

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