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Notebook: Ryan's ailing dad makes surprise visit to Lambeau

Discussion in 'Packer Fan Forum' started by Packersfan43084, Nov 1, 2006.

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  1. Packersfan43084

    Packersfan43084 Cheesehead

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    Notebook: Ryan's ailing dad makes surprise visit to Lambeau

    By Rob Demovsky
    rdemovsk@greenbaypressgazette.com

    When Jon Ryan returned to the Green Bay Packers following the bye week earlier this month, he wondered whether he'd see his father again.


    Imagine, then, the look on the face of the Packers' punter when he learned his dying father was at Lambeau Field for Sunday's game against the Arizona Cardinals.


    With Bob Ryan seemingly too sick to travel, Jon Ryan figured the only way he'd see his father was if he lived through the NFL season.


    "I don't think he could handle the travel because his bones are so brittle," Ryan said upon his return to the Packers two weeks ago.


    Bob Ryan was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer this summer and may have only months to live. Packers coach Mike McCarthy let Ryan skip three days of practice during the bye week to return to Canada to be with his father.


    Ryan' agent, Gil Scott, secured a private jet from a businessman in the Ryans' hometown of Regina, Saskatchewan, to bring Bob Ryan and his family to Green Bay in time for Sunday's game. They watched the game from a private box.


    It all was a surprise to Jon Ryan, who found out about it when Packers equipment manager Red Batty told him shortly before game time.


    "He was just sitting in the corner in the tunnel with my family," Ryan told his hometown newspaper, the Regina Leader-Post. "That was about as memorable a moment as I'll ever have in my life, to be able to go over there after warmups and be able to hug my dad and hug my family. Everyone was in tears. I was bawling my eyes out, for sure. To see him down there was unbelievable. The rest of the players came out and they all lined up and gave my dad a (handshake) or a high five, and he wished them all good luck, one at a time, as they took the field. It was about as magical a day as you could possibly imagine."


    Ryan said earlier this month he was thankful his father got the chance to come to Lambeau Field for the preseason game against Atlanta on Aug. 19. He figured that would his dad's only trip to Green Bay.


    "I was so happy that he was able to come to that game," Ryan said. "He grew up a Packers fan but had never been to a game here before. He said when he came out of the tunnel and into the stadium, he had tears in his eyes. At that point, we didn't know the cancer was that bad, but I knew it was pretty special to have him here."


    Defensive improvements: The Packers allowed only three explosive plays on defense in Sunday's 31-14 win over the Cardinals, a significant improvement over the 11 they gave up the previous week against Miami.


    The Packers define explosive plays as runs of 12 yards or more and passes of 16 yards or more.


    All three of Arizona's explosive plays came in the second half, and all three were passes. The first one, a 22-yard catch and run by tight end Leonard Pope was blown defensive assignment that left him wide open. The second, the 17-yard touchdown pass to receiver Troy Walters, was a blown coverage by nickel cornerback Patrick Dendy. The third, a 13-yard completion to Walters, came in garbage time on the Cardinals' final series when the game was wrapped up.


    "We were aiming to knock those (explosive plays) down, and the guys worked extremely hard and did a nice job," defensive coordinator Bob Sanders said Monday. "The (goal) is four or five. If we can hold them to that, that will help us win the game."


    Part of the problem early in the season had been miscommunication in the secondary, but those kinks appeared to have been ironed out against the Cardinals. Cornerbacks Charles Woodson and Al Harris had perhaps their best games of the season. Woodson had an interception for the second straight week. Harris held the Cardinals' top receiver, Anquan Boldin, in check.


    Safeties Nick Collins and Marquand Manuel, both of whom had numerous assignment errors early in the season, also showed improvement.


    "They both graded out with winning performances today," McCarthy said Monday.


    Injury report: Receiver Donald Driver, who hobbled off the field in the fourth quarter after rolling his right ankle but returned to finish the game, is "fine," McCarthy said.


    The Packers' other starting receiver, Greg Jennings, who missed Sunday's game with a sprained ankle, will be listed as questionable this week, McCarthy said. He was listed as doubtful going into the game against Arizona.


    "He worked out Sunday morning before the game, and he's close," McCarthy said. "We'll have a better idea about him on Wednesday, but I'm hopeful he'll go."


    Woodson, who briefly left Sunday's game with a knee injury, was having the knee examined on Monday.


    McCarthy also said tight end David Martin's jaw was fine.





    A great story!
     
  2. longtimefan

    longtimefan Super Moderator Staff Member Super Moderator

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  3. trippster

    trippster Cheesehead

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    Re: Notebook: Ryan's ailing dad makes surprise visit to Lamb

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