May 14, 2019 11:57 am
Updated: May 14, 2019 3:21 pm

‘Guess what? I’m a Roughrider’: Jon Ryan to don green and white

Jon Ryan, pictured in 2012.

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The Saskatchewan Roughriders have signed Jon Ryan, a Regina native, as the team’s new punter.

Ryan most recently played for the Seattle Seahawks for 10 seasons, before being released by the team in 2018. He then signed with the Buffalo Bills in August 2018, but was released a couple of weeks later.

READ MORE: Canadian punter Jon Ryan leaving Seattle Seahawks after 10 seasons

He started his professional career with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers (2004-05) after being selected in the Canadian College Draft.

Before heading to the Seahawks, he spent two seasons with the Green Bay Packers.

Ryan was a CFL all-star in 2005 and earned a Super Bowl ring with Seattle following the team’s 43-8 win over Denver on Feb. 2, 2014, making Ryan the first player from Saskatchewan to capture a Super Bowl title.

The former University of Regina Ram is a “life-long fan” of the Riders, and said joining the team is a vision realized.

“It was a dream of mine. Growing up in Regina, as a seven-year-old, I wasn’t dreaming of playing in the NFL or going to the Super Bowl, I was dreaming of playing for the Riders,” Ryan said.

“I never really forgot about that dream and now it’s coming true today.”

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Ryan said the decision wasn’t easy, but at the end of the day, “it was time to come home.”

“There were other options but in my head, this was the only one I wanted to do,” he said. “The pros list was really long and the cons list was very short.”

Those pros include his family living in Regina, “living out a childhood dream,” “the stadium,” and the “coaching staff, [like] Jeremy O’Day,” said Ryan, adding “the list goes on and on.”

Ryan has been a Roughrider fan his entire life, according to his sister.

“From when he was a little boy, a big Bobby Jurasin fan, he had season tickets when he was just little, and now here he is, a Roughrider,” said Erica Honoway.

“He’s been a fan for as long as he can remember, like a lot of little Saskatchewan boys looking up to the Riders, so having this big career in the NFL has been absolutely amazing, and for that to be done and to get to play for his hometown team that he’s been a fan of for so long, is so exciting and means so much to him.”

“The text he sent our family was, ‘Guess what? I’m a Roughrider,’ and we were so excited,” she said.

READ MORE: Saskatchewan Roughriders add international running back James Butler

Ryan posted a tweet Monday night, in what appeared to be an announcement of his return to the team.

His wife Sarah also shared her excitement on social media for her husband’s signing with the team.

Honoway said Ryan’s family is “looking into season tickets,” and is ready to support Ryan and the team for the 2019-20 season.

“It’s going to be so much fun to have our family at the games. Our kids are so excited, they’re big football fans. They’ve been watching football every Sunday for their entire lives, and they adore their uncle, they look up to him,” she said.

“He’s taught them to have big dreams and to shoot for the stars.”

The team announced on Tuesday that Josh Bartel, the team’s former punter has been released from the team.

Bartel played in the CFL for six seasons, four with the Roughriders. In 2018, the 34-year-old made 122 punts for 4,995 yards in the regular season and five punts for 207 yards in the playoffs.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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