As a kid growing up in Regina Jon Ryan dreamed about playing for the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
Ryan was born and raised in the Saskatchewan capital city developing football skills at Sheldon-Williams Collegiate high school and playing for the University of Regina Rams where he earned USports (at the time CIS) All-Canadian status.
“That’s what I dreamt of when I was kicking the football around my front yard. My first dream wasn’t to play in the NFL, it wasn’t to play in the CFL, it was to play for the Roughriders,” Ryan said on 980 CJME The Green Zone hosted by Jamie Nye.
From as far back as four years old Ryan can remember going to Riders games at old Mosaic Stadium.
“It’s near and dear to my heart the Saskatchewan Roughriders. I’ve been going to Rider games since the first one I can remember was in about 1985-1986. My dad and I had season tickets from 1990 until 2004 the day I was drafted into the CFL,” Ryan said.
That’s when the Riders rival Winnipeg Blue Bombers selected Ryan in the third round, 24th overall, of the CFL draft. Ryan handled the punting duties for two seasons, leading the CFL with a 50.6-yard average in 2005.
NFL teams took notice of Ryan’s strong leg and Green Bay signed him to a contract. Ryan spent two seasons with the Packers. After that, Ryan moved on to Seattle for 10 seasons, including a Super Bowl championship in 2014.
During training camp in 2018, Ryan was released by Seattle. The Buffalo Bills signed Ryan but let him go less than two weeks later and the 37-year-old didn’t play the rest of the season. Ryan has punted 914 times for 40,895 yards and a 44.7-yard average – with 311 punts inside the 20-yard line.
“I love it too much to just give up on it or walk away, so I’m just going to keep on going. I think I’ve still got a few good years left in me, and right now it appears that’s going to be in the CFL,” Ryan said.
Ryan actually approached the Riders about attending the Riders free agent camp in Vero Beach from April 6-8.
“Right now, I believe [the Riders] are interested, but at the same time there’s two, three possibly four other teams interested right now,” Ryan said.
“It’d be a dream come true to play for Saskatchewan. But with that you got to weigh out all your options, do what’s best for my wife and I and see what’s out there.”