The Seahawks released punter Jon Ryan Monday, ending a memorable run in Seattle for a player who over the course of 10 seasons became a franchise record holder and a beloved fan favorite.
Ryan, who signed with the Seahawks in 2008, had been the team's longest-tenured player and for the past two seasons was the only player on the roster who predated the Pete Carroll/John Schneider era. Ryan said farewell to Seahawks fans via Twitter Monday morning:
Ryan was so popular with fans not just because he was such a good punter who helped the Seahawks excel on special teams for so many years, but also for all the ways he transcended what is usually a rather anonymous position. Whether it was for his sense of humor, his toughness—he wasn't afraid to make tackles, and he finished a playoff game in Minnesota with a broken nose—or in particular for being part of one of the most memorable plays in franchise history, Ryan was embraced by Seahawks fans, and in turn returned that love during a run that saw him become the best punter in franchise history.
When he was facing free agency during the 2016 offseason, Ryan summed up his relationship with Seahawks fans by 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 leaves Seattle as the franchise leader in career punts (770), average (44.9), net average (40.8), and punts downed inside the 20 (276). Ryan also had the top three individual seasons for both net average and average, and he and Jeff Feagles share the single-season record for punts downed inside the 20 with 34.
"Jon has been an integral part of this program," Carroll said. "He has been a tremendous leader, great teammate, and a true competitor for the past decade. We thank him for his contributions to our team and the community. He will always be a Hawk."
Ryan's release leaves rookie Michael Dickson as the only punter on Seattle's roster. A fifth-round pick out of Texas, Dickson has an impressive 50.2 yards-per-punt net average through two preseason games, and has had two kicks downed inside the 20. Yet even as Ryan battled to keep his job in camp this year, he also helped mentor the rookie who was coming for his roster spot.
"He has taken to the competition by showing the classy guy that he is, and he's helping Michael wherever he can and talks situations with him," Carroll said of Ryan last week. "Works to support him, he's helped him with his holding and all that stuff that Michael didn't have a lot of experience at. He has been a consummate pro and he knows that he's in a big battle."
Take a look back at some of the best photos of punter Jon Ryan, who the Seahawks released Monday after a 10-year stay with the club in Seattle.