‘I’m not here for a year. I’m hopefully here for many years and many Grey Cups’
The Saskatchewan Roughriders have signed Regina-born punter Jon Ryan.
Ryan met with the Regina media on Tuesday and was obviously pleased to have signed with his home-town team.
“Growing up in Regina as a seven-year old, I wasn’t dreaming of playing in the NFL or going to the Super Bowl, I was dreaming of playing for the Riders,” said Ryan, who spent 12 seasons in the NFL with the Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks. “My career went into a different direction and I never really forgot about that dream and it came true today.
“At the end of the day, it was time to come home. I’m happy to be here. There were some other options, in my head this was the only one that I wanted to do.”
The Riders cleared a roster spot for Ryan by releasing veteran Josh Bartel, who has been the Green and White’s punter for four of the last five seasons.
“It’s the unfortunate business side of this sport,” Ryan said. “I met Josh briefly and I heard he was a great guy and a great teammate. It’s also a great story coming from Australia and playing for as many years as he did. The reality of the business is everyone in pro sports took someone else’s job.”
Ryan signed a one-year deal that 3DownNation’s Justin Dunk reported is worth $100,000 with incentives, making the Regina product the highest paid punter in the CFL.
“It’s not a one-and-done deal,” Ryan said. “A lot of people think I’m coming back here to end my career. I would like to end my career some day with the Riders. I’m not here for a year. I’m hopefully here for many years and many Grey Cups.”
Ryan’s resume includes 12 seasons in the NFL — two with the Green Bay Packers and 10 with the Seattle Seahawks. He helped Seattle win the 2014 Super Bowl. During the 2014-15 NFL playoffs, Ryan became the first punter throw a touchdown pass in an NFL playoff game and the first Canadian to do so since 1993. That same year he also became the first Saskatchewanian to win the Super Bowl.
Last August, Ryan asked for his release from the Seahawks after it became evident that 2018 draftee Michael Dickson was going to win the punting job. Ryan then tried out for the Buffalo Bills but did not make the final roster.
Ryan left the Seahawks the all-time leader in punts (770), gross average punts (44.9 yards) and net average punts (40.8 yards)
Ryan hasn’t played in the CFL since 2005, when he was a second-year member of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
That year, he averaged 50.6 yards per punt, which is still a league single-season record.
Ryan recently had tryouts with the Riders, Toronto Argonauts and another undisclosed team attempts to land a job in the CFL.