Riders re-sign Regina native, punter Jon Ryan

The Saskatchewan Roughriders have re-upped with a fan favourite — Jon Ryan.

Ryan was eligible to become a free agent on February 11, 2020.

The Regina native played for the Saskatchewan Roughriders in 2019. It was his first season playing for the Riders, the franchise he fell in love with as a kid. Ryan was born and raised in Regina 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.

Ryan punted 107 times for 3,783 yards — 48.8-yard average — with a long of 77 yards while playing all 18 regular season games for Saskatchewan. He was named a West Division all-star for his efforts. The 38-year-old is already preparing for the 2020 season.

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers selected Ryan in the third round, 24th overall, of the 2004 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 — the first person from Saskatchewan to win an NFL title.

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 that season. Ryan punted 914 times in the NFL for 40,895 yards and a 44.7-yard average – with 311 punts inside the 20-yard line.

During the off-season Ryan is living with his wife, Sarah Colonna in Los Angeles. She’s a comedian and actress. Colonna flew in to watch 12 games live in 2019, eight at home and four on the road.

The Riders finished the regular season first in the West Division with a 13-5 record and it earned the green and white a home date for the Western Final. On the final play of the game, Cody Fajardo’s pass hit the uprights and fell to the turf as the Riders lost in dramatic fashion. Winnipeg went on to win the 107th Grey Cup and end a 29-year drought.

“Coming into it, I heard people say you should probably go play for a contender. People had us picked last place and I wanted to be a part of the Roughriders,” Ryan told The Rod Pedersen Show.

“We played a lot better than a lot of people thought we would and in my opinion coming down the stretch we were the best team in the league and just came up a little bit short on that Sunday afternoon.”

Ryan returns to the Riders as the team plays host for the 2020 Grey Cup.

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