When Jon Ryan was 8 years old, he dressed up as a punter for Halloween.
That’s right. A punter.
“I just fell in love with football at a very young age and started punting when I was 7,” the Seattle Seahawks punter said on The MoJo Show. “I fell in love with it to the point where I dressed up as a punter for Halloween. I remember my father having a kicking net in our front yard – a net similar to what you have on an NFL sideline. He had that set up in my front yard since I was about 10 or 11 years old. It was kind of always what I did.”
All that hard work paid off. Last season, Ryan became the first player from Saskatchewan to ever win a Super Bowl.
Ryan played college ball in Canada and was drafted by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the CFL in 2004.
“It was great,” Ryan said. “I had a blast playing football in Canada.”
He spent two years there before signing with the Green Bay Packers in 2006. His locker was right next to Brett Favre’s.
“That experience was very memorable,” Ryan said. “It’s kind of a story I’ll tell my grandchildren about some day.”
But Ryan does more than punt and sit next to Hall of Fame quarterbacks. In the fourth quarter on Monday, in fact, he was the holder for a field goal attempt against Washington. Only it was a fake. Ryan took the snap, stood up and ran five yards for a first down.
What was going through his mind on that play? Don’t fumble?
“No, my first thought was get in the end zone,” Ryan said, laughing – even though that would have required roughly a 40-yard dash. “As as a punter, you don’t get too many opportunities like that. I can probably count the number of carries I’ve had on one hand in my 11 years of pro football. When you get that opportunity, you can’t be nervous.”
Ryan, 32, has enjoyed living in Seattle and playing for the Seahawks. He’s amazed at just how competitive his teammates are. While some veterans on other teams treat practice lightly – and only go about 75 percent – the Seahawks are different. In Seattle, everyone goes all out, all the time – even at practice on a Wednesday afternoon.
“(Watching our practice is) just like watching the games,” Ryan said. “(Young players realize that) you got to go all out, too – or you’re going to be left behind.”
Ryan said the Seahawks do not necessarily feel pressure to repeat as Super Bowl champions. Rather, their approach is always in the short-term.
“We’re never looking ahead to the playoffs or to the Super Bowl right now,” he said. “We’re just thinking about Sunday and Dallas.”
The Seahawks (3-1) host the Cowboys (4-1) at 4:25 p.m. ET.
“We’re not going to catch anyone with their heads down,” Ryan said. “I think three years ago when we were kind of coming up in Russell’s first year, I think teams kind of underestimated us at times. We’re going to get everyone’s best every weekend now. We’re not going to get any easy wins. They’re going to throw everything they have at us. Every game’s a tough one to win.”