When the end came for the last regular season game for the Edmonton Elks on Friday, October 21st, 2022, the same came for Edmonton Elks punter Jon Jon Ryan. Like all things that eventually come to an end, Jon Ryan announced his retirement from pro football which spanned 19 years as reported by Canada Today.
“I mean, you’re going to have to hang them at some point,” Ryan said. “I tried to drag this out forever, but Father Time finally got me after 19 years.”
“Right now I look back and it all seems like a dream to be honest. 19 years went by in the blink of an eye, really,” admitted an emotional Ryan.
“Looking back on those 10 years in Seattle and all those playoff teams and the Super Bowls and all that, it’s one of the better memories of playing pro football. But I will always love the CFL. Without the CFL I would never have gotten into the NFL and the reason I ended up returning to the CFL is because I love them so much. I always say the CFL is the greatest sport in the world and I’m honoured to have played it.”
Jon Ryan was born in Regina, Saskatchewan on November 26th, 1981.
He would attend Sheldon-Williams Collegiate where he would play football and was part of the 1999 Provincial Championship. Jon was a punter, placekicker, and running back while playing at Sheldon-Williams Collegiate.
University of Regina
While at the University of Regina, Jon would be part of the Rams football team where he would be a wide receiver and punter. Not only was he on the football team, but Jon Ryan also competed for the University of Regina Rams Track and Field team.
There is no doubt that he would get more exposure from the CFL via the draft knowing he was playing multiple positions, along with his natural speed.
Jon Ryan was drafted by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the 2004 CFL Draft. He would be selected in the 3rd round, and 29th overall.
In his 2nd season in 2005 with the Blue Bombers, he would finish the season as the 2nd best punter to only Noel Prefontaine.
Green Bay Packers
On February 7th, 2006 Jon Ryan would sign with one of the most historical franchises in pro football the Green Bay Packers. His contract was for a 3-year at $965,000.
Unfortunately for Jon Ryan, during the 2006 season, his father Bob Ryan was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Playing football was more of an afterthought. He would play a game just two days after his father’s death. His Green Bay Packers teammates saw Jon Ryan as an inspiration on the team knowing the emotional toll anyone would have to face.
On September 1st, 2008, Jon Ryan would be released by the Green Bay Packers.
Getting released by the Green Bay Packers was a blessing in disguise for Jon Ryan. He would sign a contract with the Seattle Seahawks with a 2-year contract at $980,000. His football life would be spent for the majority of his career in the Pacific Northwest in Seattle.
Jon would complete the 2008 season with 78 punts, and with an average of 45.6 yards per punt.
In 2009, Jon would complete the season with 88 punts, 4068 yards, and an average of 46.23 yards.
Not only was it a better year statistically for Jon Ryan, but also another payday. He would be rewarded with a 6-year 9.1 million dollar contract. Jon would also appear in the Pro Bowl that season in which his play on the field spoke for itself.
During the 2013 season, He would be part of the Seattle Seahawks Super Bowl Champions squad. It was a lopsided 43-8 victory for the Seattle Seahawks over the Denver Broncos. And just like that, Jon Ryan was a Super Bowl Champion.
Jon would continue playing for the Seattle Seahawks till the end of the 2018 season. He would be in Seattle for a total of 10 consecutive seasons.
Jon would take his talents to the Buffalo Bills during the 2018 season. Unfortunately, his stint would be very short in which he was released by the Buffalo Bills only 3 weeks later on September 1st, 2018.
Jon Ryan elected to sit out the entire 2018 season rather than pursue free agency. In that, he would return to Canada and sign a 1-year deal with his hometown Saskatchewan Roughriders.
Due to the cancelled 2020 season due to COVID-19, Jon Ryan would opt out of his contract on August 25th, 2020. He would resign on February 10th, 2021.
On July 10th, 2022, Jon would sign with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. His stint would be short-lived in which he would be traded to the Edmonton Elks on July 26th, 2022 without playing a game in Steel town.
Jon Ryan would conclude the 2022 CFL season in which he would not see any postseason action. The Edmonton Elks would experience another back-to-back disastrous season in which they would complete the 2022 season with a 4-14 record.
Retirement and Legacy
Just like anything in life, it’s time to retire. And Jon Ryan did just that. He can hang his head up high knowing that his football life was extraordinary. From his days at Sheldon-Williams Collegiate to the University of Regina, to the NFL, to Metlife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey where he won a Superbowl, and back to the CFL. Jon Ryan’s life came full circle.
He becomes in the same class of players from Saskatchewan to have played in the NFL for multiple seasons. He joins Reuben Mays (New Orleans Saints 1986-1991 and Seattle Seahawks 1992-1993) from North Battleford, Saskatchewan, Brett Jones (New York Giants 2015-2017, Minnesota Vikings 2018-2020, Denver Broncos 2021) from Weyburn, Saskatchewan, and Arnie Weinmeister (New York / Brooklyn Yankees 1948-1949, New York Giants 1950-1953) from Rhein, Saskatchewan.
Thank you, Mr. Jon Ryan. You did a lot for football in Canada and growing the game. You were an ambassador for the CFL and gave young players hope in playing pro football. Now it is father time. Enjoy spending time with your family regularly as its a much deserved.
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