CFL Pass

Regina's Jon Ryan signs extension with Roughriders

Returning to the Saskatchewan Roughriders for second CFL season was an easy decision for Regina-born punter Jon Ryan.

The Riders announced Wednesday that the 38-year-old Ryan had signed a one-year contract extension.

“It’s great and it’s definitely what I wanted to happen,” Ryan said Wednesday from his off-season home in Los Angeles.

“I’m happy to be back the second time around. I’m also excited about the (2020) Grey Cup being in Regina. The goal this year is to play in the Grey Cup in my hometown, but I’m also able to play a sport that I love in a province that I grew up in and in front of a bunch of people that I love. That is definitely another piece to it.”

Ryan was eligible to become a free agent on Tuesday. He avoided that process by re-signing with the Riders in advance of the 11 a.m. deadline. In 2019, Ryan waited until May 14 before signing with the Riders after a 12-year NFL career.

“I really didn’t want to drag it out this year,” said Ryan, who was Saskatchewan’s nominee for most outstanding special-teams player and a West Division all-star in 2019. “When it came down to the last few days, I really wanted to get it done.”

Ryan and his agent came up with the compensation that the punter was seeking and presented those figures to Jeremy O’Day, the Riders’ general manager and vice-president of football operations.

“Jeremy took them right away,” Ryan said. “We’re very happy not to drag this out for weeks and months. We wanted to get this done as soon as possible.”

Ryan led the CFL and set a Riders’ franchise record by averaging 48.8 yard per punt during the 2019 season. He enjoyed the season considering it was first in the CFL since 2005 when he was with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

“My favourite part from last year was being with a great group of guys,” Ryan said. “It’s probably the closest that I’ve been with any teammates since I started playing professional football. That was part was key and one the reasons why I wanted to come back.”

Ryan’s NFL career featured stops with the Green Bay Packers (2006-07), Seattle Seahawks (2008-17) and training-camp stint with the Buffalo Bills (2018). In the NFL, he averaged 44.7 yards per punt and a net average of 38.7 yards.

He was the first Saskatchewan product to win a Super Bowl when the Seahawks defeated the Denver Broncos 43-8 in the 2014 NFL championship game.

After starring with the University of Regina Rams, Ryan was selected in the third round (24th overall) of the 2004 CFL draft by the Blue Bombers. Ryan was a CFL all-star in 2005 after leading the league with a 50.6 yard punting average.

Ryan’s re-signing leaves the Riders with 18 pending free agents heading into Tuesday’s deadline.

Among that group is receiver Shaq Evans. The 29-year-old Evans caught 72 passes for 1,334 yards in 2019 en route to earning CFL all-star honours in 2019. Evans, however, is reportedly close to re-signing with the Roughriders.

O’Day has been busy in the off-season by re-signing key free agents. Linebacker Cameron Judge was re-signed to a one-year deal on Sunday, Judge, a national, is coming off a break-out season with a career-high 61 defensive tackles, five sacks and 11 special-teams tackles.

Other key re-signings were centre Dan Clark, cornerback Nick Marshall, defensive halfback Loucheiz Purifoy, defensive end A.C. Leonard and Ryan.

mmccormick@postmedia.com

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Source: montrealgazette.com




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