Cronkite Header

Cronkite News has moved to a new home at Use this site to search archives from 2011 to May 2015. You can search the new site for current stories.

From Viking to Patriot, From Eastern to the Super Bowl: Logan Ryan’s Football Journey

Email this story
Print this story

While South Jersey may not have a team to root for Sunday, one player may be a familiar face when he takes the field.

Like many young kids playing in the backyard and dreaming of becoming a professional athlete, Logan Ryan never thought his journey would take him Super Bowl XLIX with the New England Patriots.

“So far it’s what I expected but it’s still surreal that it’s coming true,” said Ryan. “I just want to give them (supporters) something to smile about.”

Ryan grew up in Berlin, New Jersey with family and friends who watched his football career blossom once he arrived at Eastern Regional High School in 2005. Ryan became an all-state quarterback but also played cornerback.

“Playing quarterback taught me a lot,” Ryan said. “It taught me what the quarterback is thinking at the other side.”

Eastern Regional High School produced NFL players in Chris Canty and Phil Trautwein but neither have been to a Super Bowl.

“I just want to represent the area well,” said Ryan, who is receiving text messages from former classmates and teammates.

At Eastern, Ryan’s biggest influence was Adam Taliferro, who played several years before Ryan and suffered a paralyzing spinal cord injury.

“He was definitely my biggest inspiration to push hard, work hard, do great things and I try to take that and try to have my actions speak louder than my words,” said Ryan.

Ranked the 54th best player in the state, Ryan elected to remain close to home and attended Rutgers University. While at Rutgers, he won a Big East Conference championship and built lifelong friendships.

“Everything I had on my checklist, I accomplished not only individually but as a team and my family got to see it the whole way.”

He also matured. “I was there for four years but it felt like I grew up maybe eight years,” said Ryan.

“Hard work, dedication, how to deal with tough losses, how to play through injury. We took no short cuts there and I think it helped me and paid off.”

It paid off with the Patriots selecting him in the third round (83rd overall) of the 2013 draft. “It was a long process.

You have no idea where you are going to go,” Ryan said.

“You are waiting for your phone to ring. It’s ringing, it’s not a team, it’s family and you’re saying, ‘Don’t call me now!’’’

But when the call finally came, Ryan realized his dream. ”At the end of the day, it’s where I wanted to go. It was a perfect situation for me and it felt like this is where I belong.”

In his first two seasons, Ryan has recorded 77 tackles, forced two fumbles and picked off seven passes, one of which was returned for his first career touchdown against the New York Jets in his rookie season.

With the Patriots, Ryan has learned under one of the best coaches in the NFL. “He’s the mad genius,” Ryan said of Bill Belichick.

“Not too many words are said. He does a good job of telling you your job and if you do that, everything should work out.”

Ryan has also grown as a cornerback learning from two of the best in the game, Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner.

They have formed a bond since day one. “We’re like brothers,” said Ryan.

“Those guys came in and put their arm around me and (we) took it together as a group.”

Cornerbacks Coach Josh Boyer is impressed with Logan’s work ethic.

“Logan is an extremely intelligent player. I think he worked really hard from his rookie year to now to understand the game better.

He did a lot of things in the offseason to improve some of his technical stuff and I think his work ethic is tremendous.

He’s a physically tough and mentally tough kid so he’s been able to handle multiple roles for us.”

The Super Bowl is a “homecoming” of sorts for Ryan. He trains in Arizona during the off season. “It feels like I’m coming back home in a sense because I spend a lot of time out here in the heat,” Ryan said.

But the heat may not be coming from the desert sun.

Ryan and the Patriots face the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks in a matchup of the two best teams in the league.

“Last year I thought I was going to be here,” Ryan said. “My expectation every game is to win. My expectation every season is to be in this game.’’

Ryan is enjoying the hyped up environment but… “I’m grateful to be here but at the same time, (we’re) trying to focus on the game, so it’s a mix of a little bit of everything.