SEATTLE -- "Punters always know the direction of a punt."
That was the word from Jon Ryan following the Seahawks' 18-11 preseason loss to Minnesota, when the Seattle punter was asked about the soft hands he showed off during Thursday night's game at CenturyLink Field.
"I was just standing there," Ryan recalled of the third-quarter boot he grabbed from Minnesota punter Jeff Locke that had sailed out of bounds toward the Seattle sideline. "He punted it and I was like, 'Oh, that's coming right to me.' So I signaled a fair catch, set my feet under the ball, and just caught it. That was coaching tape right there."
After the highlight-reel play, Ryan, who was also productive with his foot on Thursday, punting six times for 324 yards (54.0-yard average), proudly held the football up for all of CenturyLink Field to see.
The catch came directly in front of an impressed Seattle general manager John Schneider, and Ryan was quickly met with cheers, smiles and daps from his Seahawks teammates, the first of which came from Pro Bowl and All-Pro return specialist Tyler Lockett, who fears Ryan may be gunning for his job.
"He caught it with ease," Lockett said. "I don't think he practices catching the ball at all. He might go out there and take my job."
Had Ryan not caught the ball, he might've been subject to fines from Seattle's defensive backs, a position group that docks teammates for dropping footballs on the sideline, according to DeShawn Shead.
"In the DB-room, if a ball comes on the sideline, like an overthrown ball, and you drop it, you get fined," said Shead. "So for Jon Ryan to catch that, I was excited to see him, because he probably would have got fined as well from the DBs.
"I was very impressed," Shead added. "For a guy that kicks punts every day, that's all he does is kick punts, but to see him catch that punt on the sideline, it was exciting to see. I was pumped to see that."
As for Ryan taking Lockett's return duties? A decade ago, maybe, Ryan said.
"Ten years ago," said Ryan. "But I've lost a couple steps, being my 13th year in pro football."
Check out some photos from Preseason Week 2: Seattle Seahawks vs. Minnesota Vikings at CenturyLink Field.