Carroll says Seahawks ‘love’ Jon Ryan, but Dickson ‘was just kicking out of this world’
RENTON, Wash. – It wasn’t fun, but the Seattle Seahawks are happy with the new direction of their special teams.
A day after releasing longtime punter Jon Ryan to make way for fifth-round draft pick Michael Dickson and solidifying Sebastian Janikowski as the Seahawks’ kicker by cutting Jason Myers, coach Pete Carroll had nothing but good things to say about everyone involved.
Still, the loss of Jon Ryan, who preceded Carroll in Seattle and was a fan favorite, stung a little.
“Jon Ryan has been a great Seahawk, and we have loved the time we spent together,” Carroll said. “He’s been here since the beginning. I know everybody would understand that it’s a very difficult decision when you have to make one like this after all this time together. He was doing great. Michael was just kicking out of this world, and did the things we hoped he could do.”
Ryan landed on his feet immediately, reportedly agreeing Tuesday to become the Buffalo Bills’ new punter. Carroll said it was better for everybody to make a decision as quickly as possible, giving the Dickson and Janikowski more time to work together and Ryan every opportunity to find a new job.
“He’s been a great player, he’s been a great competitor, he’s been a great team guy, a great community guy,” Carroll said. “We love him. He’s always a Seahawk, will always be, and really one of the great ones. We miss the heck out of him, but it’s something (where) the time came and we had to go ahead and do it.”
Dickson, one of the most highly touted punters to come out of college in recent years after being named a unanimous All-American at Texas, said achieving his longtime goal was tempered by his respect for Ryan.
“It was something that I’ve been battling for every day and I wanted to win the spot more than anything, but it was surprisingly more bittersweet than anything,” Dickson said. “Just because Jon was such a mentor to me when I was here, and he was probably one of the funniest people I’ve ever met.”
Only two games into the preseason, Dickson has proved to be everything the Seahawks had hoped. He leads the NFL in gross (51.7) and net (50.1) average yardage per punt.
“He’s a very, very versatile punter,” Carroll said. “There’s a lot of things we’re excited about with him. We need to get it going. I think it’s good for him to feel the confidence in the program, that we’re behind him. He’s a real savvy competitor – strong. He’s gonna do a really nice job in handling it.”
The decision to go with Janikowski over Myers wasn’t nearly as emotional, as both were offseason free-agent signings.
“Sebastian’s been kicking the ball great – he’s on it,” Carroll said. “We wanted to make sure and tie together Michael with Sebastian, all the holding and all that, the synchronizing of that, so it made sense to go ahead now and make the move. Sebastian’s been, really, he’s just been right on it. He’s in terrific shape, he’s really holding up great and he’s had a great camp.”