The Real Reason why Jon Ryan Isn't Punting for Tiger-Cats
The CFL's Hamilton Tiger cats signed veteran, Canadian Punter Jonathan Ryan on July 10th but he has yet to take the field for the Yellow-and-Black. Why? Because he doesn't do Kickoffs. Let's discuss that;
Jon Ryan was born in Regina, Saskatchewan, and grew up dreaming of someday becoming a Punter. Become a Punter he did. Drafted by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in 2004, Jon Ryan has had an impressive 18-year career in the CFL and NFL. After 2 years in Winnipeg, Ryan was brought in by the Green Bay Packers and became the third Saskatchewan native to sign with an NFL team.
He spent 2 years in Green Bay, but was not valued enough as a Punter and was released following the 2007 season. He subsequently signed with the Seattle Seahawks during the first week of the 2008 season and this is where the fun begins.
That fateful September day started a chain of events that would lead to the most prolific Canadian Punter to ever do it. Ryan played well enough to earn a 6-year, $9.1 million contract after the 2009 season. Fast forward 4 years to 2013 and Jon Ryan becomes the first player from Saskatchewan to win the Super Bowl when the Seahawks beat out the Denver Broncos. In March of 2016, Jon Ryan was a team captain and managed to ink another 4-year, $10 million contract, which shows how his value as a punter steadily improved. Unfortunately, in 2018 he was released by the team following a historic NFL career.
He wasn't finished playing football, however, as the Regina native would sign with the CFL's Saskatchewan Roughriders to play with his hometown team! He played for the Riders during the 2019 and 2021 seasons before being released by the team following an ankle injury that ended his 2021 season.
The Hamilton Tiger-Cats saw the opportunity to sign a great player and did so. To avoid repeating myself, you can read more about that here. He has yet to play a game for the Black-and-Yellow.
So why hasn't Ryan played a game yet? If you ask me, it's because of the following: He doesn't do kickoffs. To understand this we need to look at the current Special Teams roster for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Before signing Ryan, the Cats had two kickers on the roster; Punter Simon Laryea and Kickoff Specialist/Placekicker Michael Domagala.
When Ryan was signed the Ti-Cats released Laryea but kept Domagala. I was confused about this move initially but if my theory is correct it makes a lot of sense. In his long, 18-year career, Jon Ryan has only ever kicked 7 kickoffs. Seth Small, a 22-year-old rookie, has never been given kickoff duty. If the Tiger-Cats put both of them out on the field as their specialists they don't have a player who is reliable on kickoffs. So, what do they do? They keep Michael Domagala on the roster as a Punter/Kickoff Specialist. He is the only kicker on the roster with any kickoff experience and when you're facing returners in the CFL, you don't want any mistakes. They could lead to your opponent scoring an easy 6 points.
While we can't be 100% certain as to why Ryan has missed his first 2 weeks, we can certainly speculate. We will have to wait and see if he takes to the field in week 7 when Hamilton faces Montreal on Thursday Night Football!
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