Packers sign CFL punter

Ryan led the league with 50.6-yard gross average

Jon Ryan, who led the Canadian Football League in punting in 2005, reportedly signed a free agent contract recently with the Green Bay Packers. Ryan drew heavy interest from the Cincinnati Bengals and New York Giants before deciding on Green Bay.

The Packers reportedly gave the strong-legged kicker a $35,000 bonus as part of the deal. Ryan, 24, had a gross average of 50.6 yards per punt last year. The Packers are looking to upgrade the punter position this year. B.J. Sander, selected in the third round of the 2004 NFL draft, struggled in his first season punting last year. He did not punt in 2004 after a miserable pre-season. Sander ranked 30th in the NFL in gross average with a 39.2-yard mark and 31st in net average with a 33.9 mark.

The 5-foot-11, 205-pound Ryan had an individual workout with Green Bay in mid-January. He will compete against Sander, free agent Ryan Dutton and Ryan Flinn, the bartender who was signed for the final two games of the 2005 season, for the punting job next season in Green Bay.

Ryan, 24, was born in Regina, Saskatchewan, and played wide receiver and punter at the University of Regina. The Winnipeg Blue Bombers drafted him in the third round last year and used him exclusively as a punter, where he excelled.

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