Doctors confirm ‘small crack in the bone’ for Riders punter Jon Ryan, ‘probably’ out for the year

Photo courtesy: Justin Dunk

The Saskatchewan Roughriders finally revealed an official diagnosis for hometown hero punter Jon Ryan and it isn’t good, confirming Thursday that the Regina native suffered a fracture to his ankle.

“The docs came back and said there’s a small crack in the bone down there,” head coach Craig Dickenson told the media. “He’s probably going to be out for the year.”

The Riders had originally pegged Ryan’s injury as a two-to-three week ankle sprain, but that was later elevated to a minimum six week recovery. Still, a break in the ankle had not yet been confirmed and the announcement all but puts the final nail in the coffin of his 2021 season.

The 39-year-old punted 107 times for 5,222 gross yards — a 48.8-yard average — with a long of 77 yards while playing all 18 regular season games for Saskatchewan in 2019. He was named a West Division all-star for his efforts during the first season with his hometown team.

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers originally selected Ryan in the third round, 24th overall during the 2004 CFL Draft. Ryan handled the punting duties for two seasons, leading the league 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 — becoming the first person from Saskatchewan to win an NFL title. He punted 914 times in the NFL for 40,895 yards and a 44.7-yard average with 311 punts inside the 20-yard line.

Ryan earned over $14 million while playing south of the border. His contract for 2021 included a $6,500 signing bonus with $12,000 in housing, $3,000 in travel allowance to go alongside a $67,000 base salary for $88,500 in hard money.

Fortunately for the Riders, the team has been “very pleased” with the performance of Norwegian punter Kaare Vedvik, a second-round pick in the 2021 CFL Global Draft, since Ryan went down. Unselected out of Marshall in the 2018 NFL Draft, Vedvik has spent time with eight different NFL teams, most recently with the Jacksonville Jaguars.