Jonathan Robert Ryan (born November 26, 1981) is a Canadian professional American football punter for the Seattle Seahawks of the National Football League (NFL). He helped the Seahawks win the Vince Lombardi Trophy in Super Bowl XLVIII over the Denver Broncos. He played college football for the University of Regina Rams, and began his professional career with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the Canadian Football League (CFL) after being selected in the Canadian College Draft. He was then signed by the Green Bay Packers of the NFL in 2006 and joined the Seahawks in 2008.
Ryan was born and raised in Regina, Saskatchewan. On Halloween when he was 8 years old he dressed up as a punter. He attended Sheldon-Williams Collegiate for high school, where he played as running back, placekicker and punter on the school's football team. He then attended the University of Regina, where he played both punter and wide receiver for the Regina Rams football team from 2000-2003. During his sophomore season with the Rams, he caught a 109-yard touchdown pass, and led the team in receiving, in addition to his kicking duties. After his fourth year with the Rams, Ryan picked up several team awards, including Best Special Teams Player, Top Scorer and Most Valuable Player. He was also named a first team Canada West All-Star, and a CIS All-Star. Ryan also ran track for the University of Regina.
Winnipeg Blue Bombers
In 2004, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the Canadian Football League (CFL) selected Ryan as a punter and wide receiver in the third round of Canadian College Draft, making him the 24th overall pick. Ryan joined the Blue Bombers for the 2004 CFL Season. During his rookie season, Ryan finished second in punting average to Noel Prefontaine of the Toronto Argonauts.
During the 2005 season, Ryan led the league with a 50.6 yard average, while punting the most out of all league punters, 118 times. NFL talk buzzed around Ryan's future, while midway through the year, there was also speculation that Ryan may take over the kicking duties as well from aging veteran Troy Westwood.
Green Bay Packers
On February 7, 2006, Ryan signed with the Green Bay Packers to a three-year $965,000 contract. He was only the third Saskatchewan native to make it to the NFL, following Arnie Weinmeister and Rueben Mayes.
During training camp in 2006 he found out his father, Bob, was diagnosed with terminal cancer and he persevered through a tough season, which included punting in a game two days after his father's death. His teammates voted him as the recipient of the Ed Block Courage Award in 2006 for his display of courage and sportsmanship, and for being an inspiration in the locker room.
On September 30, 2007 against the Minnesota Vikings he became the first Packers punter to rush for a first down since David Beverly did so against the Houston Oilers on December 14, 1980. His rush attempt that resulted in a gain of 7 yards came on a fake punt that was originally intended to be a pass, however, he did not hear the coaches call it off at the last minute. He ran with the ball when he realized he had no one to throw to and ran into several of his blockers in the process because they did not know he was running with the ball.
On December 23, 2007 Ryan had two of his punts blocked by the Chicago Bears, including one that was returned for a touchdown. He also had a nine-yard punt during the game and bobbled a snap on another that lead to a turnover on downs. Before this, the Packers went 929 punts without a blocked punt, dating back to September 11, 1995.
On December 30, 2007 during a 34-13 victory over the Detroit Lions, Ryan kicked a 72-yard punt in the fourth quarter, the longest punt at Lambeau Field since Don Chandler's 90 yard punt in 1965. The punt tied for the second longest in franchise history - set by Sean Landeta September 20, 1998 at Cincinnati.
During the 2007 season, Ryan posted a net average of 37.6 yards, 12th in the NFL and the finest in Green Bay since 1969. His gross mark of 44.4 was the fourth-best in club history.
Ryan was released by the Packers on September 1, 2008.
Following Week 1 of the 2008 regular season, Ryan signed with the Seattle Seahawks on September 9 to a two-year $980,000 contract. In Week 8 against the San Francisco 49ers, he hit a 63 yd punt, a 60 yd punt and a 55 yd punt. He finished the 2008 season with 78 punts averaging 45.6 yards.
In his Week 6 game of the 2009 NFL season, he threw a 42-yard pass against the Arizona Cardinals to garner a 119 QB rating for the season.
After the season ended, Ryan signed a six-year, $9.1 million contract with $1.9 million guaranteed and $1.6 million in signing bonus. He was also named a Pro Bowl alternate following the 2009 season.
On October 17, in a game against the Chicago Bears, Ryan was hit by Earl Bennett while trying to make a tackle on Devin Hester's 89-yard punt return for a touchdown. Ryan's ribs were injured, but not fractured.
Ryan played in the final game of the 2010 regular season against the St. Louis Rams and landed a punt on the two-yard line on the fly towards the end of the first quarter. Later, in the fourth quarter, he pinned the Rams inside of their own 10 yard line again, this time kicking it down to the seven-yard line. His efforts helped the Seahawks secure the final playoff spot remaining in the 2010 NFL season. This marked the first time that a team with a losing record (7–9) has made the NFL playoffs as a Division Champion (NFC West).
On February 2, 2014, Ryan became the first player from Saskatchewan to win the Super Bowl when the Seahawks beat the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII.
In the third quarter of the NFC Championship Game, where the Seahawks were losing 16–0, Ryan threw a 19-yard touchdown pass to Garry Gilliam on a fake field goal. He is the first punter to throw a touchdown pass in an NFL playoff game and the first Canadian to do so since quarterback Mark Rypien in 1993. The Seahawks ultimately won the game 28–22 and advanced to their second straight Super Bowl.
On March 11, 2016, he signed a four-year $10 million contract to stay with the Seattle Seahawks.
Ryan is married to American stand-up comedian Sarah Colonna and has appeared on her podcast Off The Rails, with Josh Wolf, numerous times. In 2015 he tried out for American Ninja Warrior, cheered on by Seahawk teammates Derrick Coleman and Jermaine Kearse. His older sister Jill is the wife of Canadian politician Andrew Scheer. He and Colonna both appeared on Bar Rescue as one of the recon spies for Black Light District Rock & Roll Lounge.