Veteran punter Jon Ryan believes fellow Canadian Brett Lauther can compete at the NFL level.
The specialist tandem helped the Saskatchewan Roughriders produce a 13-5 record in 2019, the best regular season record in the West Division. Both Ryan and Lauther opted out of their CFL contracts to be ready if NFL teams came calling.
“I’m shocked. I’m surprised. He definitely deserves it. I think there is some politics in it that he’s an American guy, and some of these American guys will get opportunities before Canadians for whatever reason,” Ryan said on 620 CKRM radio in Regina.
“[Sergio] Castillo he’s a great kicker, he’s absolutely destroyed it in the games that he’s got to play with the Jets, took advantage of his opportunity, but I don’t think he’s as good as Brett Lauther — I really don’t.”
During two seasons with Saskatchewan, Lauther made 86-of-101 field goals (85 percent) with a long of 57 yards. His best season in green and white came in 2018 when he hit on 54-of-60 field-goal attempts (90 per cent). For those efforts, Lauther was named a West Division all-star while being named Saskatchewan’s Most Outstanding Special Teams Player and Most Outstanding Canadian that year.
“I was lucky enough to be able to train with Brett Lauther a couple weeks ago, brought him down to San Diego. We worked with John Carney who is a legendary NFL kicker,” Ryan said.
“He was just so impressed with Brett, he thought he was tremendously talented. Hoping just to get his name out there, I pray that he gets an NFL workout at some point because he deserves it.”
Ryan encouraged Lauther to explore potential NFL opportunities. The 38-year-old spent twelve seasons in the NFL, ten with Seattle and was part of the Seahawks’ Super Bowl XLVIII winning team. Ryan feels all Lauther needs is an opportunity and he could realistically compete in the NFL as a kicker.