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Jon Ryan Signs One-Day Contract To Retire As A Seahawk

Longtime Seahawks punter Jon Ryan signed a one-day contract with the Seahawks in order to retire as a member of the team.

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Jon Ryan needed neither time nor distance from his time in Seattle to understand the special place he held in the hearts of Seahawks fans.

During the 2016 offseason, not long before he signed what wound up being his last contract with the Seahawks, Ryan reflected on his lengthy career as Seattle’s punter, saying, "The people in Seattle, the people in Washington, the people in the Pacific Northwest have accepted a fair-skinned, freckle-faced redheaded kid from Canada with a speech impediment who punts a football, and made him feel like a super star… You guys are the greatest fans in the world."

Ryan spent 10 of his 12 NFL seasons in Seattle, setting numerous team records and winning a Super Bowl title and two NFC championships before finishing his career in the CFL, and that decade with the Seahawks left a lasting impression on a "redheaded kid from Canada." So on Tuesday, Ryan made sure he would officially end his football career as a member of the Seahawks, signing a one-day contract that allows him to retire as a member of the team.

"I played 19 years of pro football, five teams, two different countries, two different leagues, but the best part of my career was playing here for those 10 years," Ryan said after signing alongside his wife, comedian, actor and author Sarah Colonna. "It meant so much to me, I feel like I really found myself here. It was a big part of my life going from 26 to 36 in one place. And just the way the fans treated me here is the No. 1 thing. When you retire from football you're going to miss the boys, but I can call up the boys any time, they're going to be there. You're going to miss football, but I can take a bag of balls to the park and kick them around any time. But you can never recreate the 12s. That feeling of walking on the field, of running out of the tunnel, it's something that no matter what you do the rest of your life, you'll never recreate. So the best situation for me was if I could just walk away as a Seahawk, and that's what they're allowing me to do today."

Ryan's professional career began with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers following a college career in which he played both punter and receiver for the University of Regina, then he made the leap to the NFL in 2006, signing with the Green Bay Packers. Ryan then joined the Seahawks in 2008, kicking off a decade-long run in which a punter established himself as a fan-favorite and something of a franchise icon.

"That really sums up the whole thing, how they made me feel here," Ryan said of his self-deprecating description of himself in 2016. "I came here as an absolute nobody, and maybe I left as a nobody too, but in the meantime, they made me feel like an absolute rockstar for 10 years. That relationship I formed with the fans here, I never could have imagined them taking me and embracing me like they did for all those years. Truly, no B.S., no fake, it was real, and I loved it."

Over the course of his 10-year career in Seattle, Ryan punted 770 times for 34,492 yards, with 276 punts downed inside the 20, all of which are franchise records. He ended his Seahawks career averaging 44.8 yards per punt with a 38.7 net average, both of which were franchise records at the time.

And in addition to all he accomplished kicking a football, Ryan was of course also known for the pass he threw in Seattle's NFC championship game victory over the Packers. With little going right for the Seahawks, the Packers led that game 16-0 late in the third quarter when it appeared the Seahawks would have to settle for a field goal. Instead, a fake was called with Ryan rolling to his left before lofting a pass to a wide-open Garry Gilliam for a 19-yard touchdown, an unlikely score that helped jumpstart a comeback for the ages that sent the Seahawks back to the Super Bowl for a second consecutive year.

While he was still playing, Ryan tried to stay focused on his career and not looking back at past glory, but now that he is retired, he has been able to appreciate that play and its place in Seahawks history.

"Now that I'm retired, I've been watching it a lot lately, just kind of bringing back old memories, and just how great that day was, well at least the last 20 minutes of the game, how great that was," he said. "It was just a great memory."

A great memory in a great Seahawks career. Not bad for "a fair-skinned, freckle-faced redheaded kid from Canada with a speech impediment who punts a football."

Longtime Seahawks punter Jon Ryan signed a one-day contract to retire as a Seahawk on April 16, 2024. Check out some of the best photos from his Seahawks tenure.

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