Seattle Seahawks

Seattle Seahawks punter Jon Ryan has choice words for Brian Billick’s ‘ignorant comment’

Seahawks punter Jon Ryan tackles the Bengals' Adam Jones during the fourth quarter on Sunday. Ryan takes issue with former NFL coach Brian Billick’s statement that punters are not football players.
Seahawks punter Jon Ryan tackles the Bengals' Adam Jones during the fourth quarter on Sunday. Ryan takes issue with former NFL coach Brian Billick’s statement that punters are not football players. The Seattle Times

It’s probably not a good idea to ruffle punter Jon Ryan’s feathers about his place in the NFL.

Last week on “The Dan Patrick Show,” former Baltimore Ravens coach Brian Billick, who guided the Ravens to a Super Bowl 35 victory over the New York Giants, said “kickers aren’t football players.”

On the set of the NFL Network’s “Game Day” on Sunday, Billick reiterated those comments. In fact, the NFL Network sent out a tweet that quoted Billick saying, “Yes, kickers are people, too, but they’re not football players.”

It took the Seattle punter an hour to respond back to Billick via Twitter before the Seahawks kicked off in Cincinnati:

“Here’s @coachBillick’s stats as an NFL football player — 0 games played, 0 catches for 0 yards. Oh, and 0 (field goal) attempts”

Ryan backed up those comments Wednesday before practice from the Seahawks’ training facility.

“I am getting sick of … washed-up guys, or guys who played 20 years ago who say kickers aren’t real athletes or not real players,” Ryan said. “Times have changed.”

Ryan noted he started punting when he was 7 years old.

“I’ve dedicated my entire life to punting a football,” Ryan said. “Some people want to cut that down and said I am not a football player, that I haven’t worked as hard as other guys — they are wrong.

“It is an ignorant comment.”

Ryan doesn’t put much stock into those kinds of comments coming from hateful fans.

But when they come from somebody who knows football, that is when he gets fired up.

“That is what got under my skin a little bit is that (Billick) comes from a place he was in the game of football,” Ryan said.

In fact, as Ryan points out, Billick coached one of the most accurate NFL kickers of all-time in Matt Stover, who was with the Ravens from 1996 until 2008.

“I bet Matt Stover never had an idea he wasn’t a real football player for those 20 years he played in the NFL,” Ryan said. “I bet he just found that out on Sunday. I am guessing he was pretty disappointed.”

Ryan said if he saw Billick at one of the Seahawks’ games in the near future, he would have a word with the NFL coach-turned-analyst.

Maybe he would even remind Billick he came into the NFL running the 40-yard dash in 4.45 seconds.

“It wouldn’t be mean-spirited,” Ryan said. “There is a bit of fun to it. At the same time, I want to set him straight.”

Lynch probable for game against Carolina

Running back Marshawn Lynch (hamstring), who has missed the past two games, should return Sunday to face Carolina, said Seahawks coach Pete Carroll.

Lynch did conditioning work Wednesday, but is expected to return to full practices Thursday and Friday.

Despite running for 217 yards and a touchdown in games against Detroit and the Bengals, Thomas Rawls will go back to a limited role as Lynch’s backup, Carroll said.

“I think (Lynch) has earned it (full workload),” Carroll said. “Thomas will be in there when Marshawn needs a break.”

EXTRA POINTS

Middle linebacker Bobby Wagner (strained pectoral muscle) will be a game-time decision. For depth, the Seahawks signed linebacker Nick Moody off their practice squad. … Defensive tackle Jordan Hill (quadriceps) will miss a few weeks, Carroll said. … With Marcus Burley (thumb) out two more weeks and Tharold Simon (toe) put on injured reserve, the team also signed veteran cornerback Crezdon Butler. Quarterback B.J. Daniels and running back Rod Smith were waived. … Reserve linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis (knee) and defensive tackle Demarcus Dobbs (shoulder) are expected to return for this week’s game.

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