Punter finds security in new contract

With the focus on training camp battles for roster spots and starting jobs, at least one position is settled.

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Punter Jon Ryan enters his third season with the Seahawks after signing a six-year, $9.1 million deal – including $1.6 million guaranteed – during the offseason.

Ryan, 28, said the contract gave him some peace of mind, allowing him to hone his craft heading into September.

“It was nice,” Ryan said. “In this league, you’re never guaranteed anything, everyone around the game knows that. But it gave me a bit of security. And to be able to go into the offseason and think more about working on my game and not worrying about beating another guy out for a job was a good mind-set to get in.”

Ryan finished seventh in the league in punting average (46.2 yards) and totaled 28 punts inside the 20-yard line, good for eighth in the league. He earned Pro Bowl alternate honors last season.

Ryan gives a nod to football down under for his success in pinning Seattle’s opponents deep.

“It’s kind of inspired by the Australian football game,” he said. “And I can do it better than trying to aim for a corner. And I just try to put it as high as I can and hope I get that roll back to give my gunners enough time to go down there and down it.

“I never want to call it luck,” Ryan added. “I work too hard to call it luck. But sometimes it kicks forward, and sometimes it kicks back. But usually the higher you get it, the more opportunity it has to kick backward, so it’s just something you’ve got to work a lot on.”

So far Ryan has started where he left off last season, averaging 50 yards a punt, including three inside the 20-yard line against Green Bay last week.

Ryan said last week’s game was even more special because it came against the Packers, the team that cut him just before the season started two years ago.

“I’d be lying to you if I said it wasn’t,” Ryan said. “I wanted to say it was just another game, but I got caught up in the emotional side, to be honest. There might have been a little bit of a glare there (toward the Green Bay sideline), but it was really all in fun. And I have no ill will toward them whatsoever.”

Ryan came into Seahawks camp last year with a buzz cut. But now, Ryan’s sporting a curly mop of red hair he’s been growing for more than a year.

Ryan said he’s growing it for a charity called Locks of Love, which makes wigs for kids who have gone through chemotherapy treatment for cancer and have lost their hair. He has to get it 10 inches long, and he’s a few inches short. Ryan said he received inspiration from his father, Bob, who died from cancer three years ago.

“My father passing really got me more involved in raising more awareness and money for cancer,” he said.