Punter Jon Ryan joined the Seattle Seahawks in 2008 after being released by the Green Bay Packers. Entering his 11th season with the squad, he had a feeling the team would attempt to draft his replacement.
"It's like when you have a grandparent who is sick for like eight years," Ryan told Jayson Jenks of The Athletic. "You know they're going to die, but when they actually die, it doesn't make it easy."
Ryan told Jenks he was at a bar in Houston with a friend and the friend's father watching the draft when the Seahawks selected Michael Dickson in the fifth round. The Australian native won the Ray Guy Award for the nation's most outstanding punter during his final season at Texas. Dickson is expected to win the job from the 36-year-old Ryan, but the veteran made it through the spring still on the roster.
Ryan, who has a good relationship with Seahawks general manager John Schneider, sought out his boss after the draft.
"He had that attitude almost like, 'Sorry, but I had to do it...'" Ryan said relaying what Schneider told him of drafting Dickson. "And I was like, 'Don't apologize! Do not apologize.' This is the business. If all the players got to pick who was on the team every year, we'd still have the Super Bowl team from five years ago."
Ryan booted around his career averages in 2017, including 29 punts downed inside the 20-yard-line on 92 attempts -- most since 2011. Ryan signed a four-year, $10 million contract in 2016. The Seahawks could save $2.6 million by jettisoning the veteran.
Entering his 13th NFL season, the 36-year-old Ryan isn't ready to concede his job to a rookie yet.
"If you let me, I'm going to compete my ass off, harder than you've ever seen," Ryan remembered saying to Schneider. "I love you. I have so much respect for you. But one way or the other, I'm going to make you look really dumb."
This offseason Pete Carroll emphasized getting back to his roots of every man on the roster competing for playing time. This year that's true right down to the punter.