Ryan Working Hard to Get Back

TheRanchReport.com caught up with tight end Sean Ryan to get the latest on his injury and what it's like to be in his second year with America's Team.

As he entered his first training camp last year, TE Sean Ryan seemed lost -- as most rookies do. His head swam with all of the information and assignments being thrown at him as he tried to make the roster as a fifth-round draft choice out of Boston College. (Ryan technically didn't make the team out of training camp last year; he was released and immediately signed to the practice squad.) The fact that he made it is a tribute to Ryan, who didn't have the advantage of a first-round contract that virtually assures making the team. Rookies have to learn a new system, new language and terminology, and adjust to working with new teammates.

This year's training camp, Ryan said, has been more frustrating. A broken foot suffered at the beginning of the summer meant surgery for Ryan, who started his rookie season on the Dallas practice squad before being activated for the final six games of the year. Doctors inserted a screw in the fifth metatarsal bone of his left foot, leaving him on the sideline during training camp.

"This has been more frustrating," Ryan said. "Last year, I got to camp and really didn't know what I was doing. I was just trying to soak everything up.

"But this year, I showed up in shape. I felt like, after having been here for a year, I knew what I was supposed to do. I spent a year studying, watching film, and I was ready to get started."

But the broken foot derailed those plans. Ryan said he's ready to show vast improvement, in part because of the teachers he has around him. In addition to new tight ends coach Paul Pasqualoni, Ryan has the benefit of learning from veterans Jason Witten and Dan Campbell.

"Dan Campbell is one of the best blocking tight ends in the league, and he's been in this offense for a long time, since he played for Sean Payton in New York," Ryan said. "And Wit (Jason Witten) -- I wish I could run like he does. But he's not just fast -- he's really good at finding seams to get open. So I'm always bugging those guys. I look at how those guys prepare for games, how they critique film -- you've got to be able to critique film and know what to look for -- and they're two big reasons I'm going to get better."

Parcells said Ryan likely would not play this weekend against the Houston Texans. Ryan didn't venture a guess as to when he'll be back on the field, leaving that decision to the coaches and the team's medical staff.

"Sunday will be four weeks since the surgery," Ryan said. "It feels pretty good. It's a little different every day, first thing in the morning, but it feels pretty good. The trainers have me doing everything I can."

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