Seahawks punter Jon Ryan bored with ball talk

 

 
 
 
 
Seattle Seahawks' Jon Ryan is interviewed during media day for NFL Super Bowl XLIX on Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015, in Phoenix.
 

Seattle Seahawks' Jon Ryan is interviewed during media day for NFL Super Bowl XLIX on Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015, in Phoenix.

Photograph by: Mark Humphrey, AP

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PHOENIX

RYAN GINGER: He didn’t get his own podium at Media Day, but Seattle punter Jon Ryan --- famous these days for the fake-punt/touchdown pass he threw to offensive tackle Garry Gilliam in the NFC championship game --- drew a modest little crowd anyway, even if many of them were Canadian reporters.

The 33-year-old from Regina, who began his professional career 11 years ago with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, said he still marvels at the trail that has led him to his second consecutive Super Bowl appearance with the Seahawks.

Growing up in Saskatchewan and kicking in Winnipeg, he said, was the best possible training for a punter.

“You really won’t find any worse conditions than there, in terms of the wind, so once I kicked there, I felt like I could kick anywhere.”

He knew as a kid that it had to be football and not hockey --- “I played hockey till I was 17. I was a goalie and I let in a lot of goals. Apparently that’s not a good nick for a goalie,” he said Tuesday --- but he also knew that playing pro ball, let alone in the NFL “when you’re growing up in Saskatchewan seems like kind of a far-fetched goal. But that was the goal.

“To be honest, just being able to get to the NFL, whether I played one game or 10 years, I didn’t care, I just wanted to get there. Those goals have changed a little bit as we’ve gone along here, but I’m just blessed to have this opportunity.”

IT ADDS UP: Ryan said he’d have 18 guests at the game Sunday, “three friends and 15 family,” most coming from Saskatchewan, and his fiancée from Los Angeles.

That’s not cheap. At an average of $1,200 per return flight and $1,500 a ticket, he joked, “I pretty much have to win this game to break even. But the support they’ve given me over the years, I wouldn’t be here without them, that’s for sure. And last year after the game, just having them down on the field, to kind of share that moment with them … you’d pay any amount of money to do that.”

ALL ABOUT BALLS: Ryan said he’s not one of those kickers who is obsessed with having a perfect football to kick, but in the wake of DeflateGate, he’s had a lot of questions asked.

“Our balls are separate from the throwing balls. They bring the balls to the stadium, and we send a guy to break them in, and so do they, we get maybe 45 minutes to do it,” he said. “The kicking has a lot less grip, and the more inflated it is the better because ball compresses differently on your foot.

“Every once in a while, when there’s a hurry-up punt, a quarterback ball is left in there, and I can tell from just looking at it. It’s a lot darker, a little less inflated.”

“Kickers and punters spend a lot of time talking about footballs, for some reason. It doesn’t really interest me a lot. Now, to hear the rest of the world talking about them, too, is extremely boring.”

THANKS, NO THANKS: Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch made an obligatory appearance at Media Day, but you had to be observant to catch him before he left.

Not that he said anything other than: “I'm just here so I won't get fined." And he said it a total of 29 times, while staying for the first five minutes of the Seahawks’ allotted one-hour interview session.

Lynch has twice been fined $50,000 by the NFL, including at last year’s Super Bowl, for violating its media policy.

NO OFFENCE: Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman said he didn’t take his former teammate, now Patriots corner Brandon Browner, seriously when Browner said that the Patriots should target Sherman’s bad elbow and safety Earl Thomas’s sore shoulder.

“It’s not okay in this league for anybody to intentionally hurt anybody. I think he was just caught up in the moment. He didn’t mean any malice by it,” Sherman said. “We know him as a person and sometimes he exaggerates a little bit.

“Nobody intentionally hurts anybody in this league, that I know of. I think a lot of guys stand for the integrity of the football league and have a lot of respect for one another, and Brandon does as well.”

EASY AS ONE, TWO, FOUR: Evidently, Browner sometimes exaggerates numbers, too. While answering a question about the differences between his former (Seattle’s Pete Carroll), and

current (New England’s Bill Belichick) head coaches, Browner briefly lost count.

“Bill has that heart on the outside. He’ll chew you out when you do it wrong, but he’ll pick you up,” he said. “Pete … I’ve never seen him chew anybody out, but he’s got a way to get his point across.

“One of the things Belichick said to us, and he said it the exact three words: ‘It’s about the ball.’”

ccole@vancouversun.com

 
 
 
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Seattle Seahawks' Jon Ryan is interviewed during media day for NFL Super Bowl XLIX on Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015, in Phoenix.
 

Seattle Seahawks' Jon Ryan is interviewed during media day for NFL Super Bowl XLIX on Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015, in Phoenix.

Photograph by: Mark Humphrey, AP

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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