If every year of my life was a chapter in a book, that's what I'd call 2007 - "Unfulfilled Expectations" - at least when it comes to Ryan's football season. It just didn't quite go the way we'd hoped, and now it's over, really over. Ryan brought home two big boxes today after cleaning out his locker at One Bills Drive (he shipped a third home to Texas). What a fitting way to end 2007 - we can now close the book on this chapter of our lives and hopefully move on to a better new year.
Ryan had a good talk with one of his coaches today. Everything we've been thinking was basically confirmed. Someone on the coaching staff just didn't want Ryan on that field for one reason or another, and once a coach makes up his mind, that's pretty much it. It wouldn't have mattered how well Ryan played or what he could've contributed at that point - he was done. It still begs the question though - why didn't they just cut him mid-season once this decision was made? We don't have an answer for that and I don't think we ever will.
Ryan's coach also confirmed that Ryan was a victim of the youth movement going on here in Buffalo. This team is rebuilding again (it seems like they have been since we got here), and there just aren't that many spots on the roster for aging vets. It sucks to get "old" in the NFL - at 32, Ryan's seemingly washed up. That cracks me up. He ran a 4.6 40 the other day - that's faster than what we'll see some college tight ends entering the draft run. But I guess at 32 you're supposed to be slowing down, and for this team, it was reason enough to write Ryan off.
It's nice to have confirmation of what we've known all along though. It definitely provides some answers for us, and it's a little easier to bring closure to this situation.
So what now? Again, we'll wait. We're at the mercy of the 31 other NFL teams now - hopefully once the free agency period begins, we'll end up with a new team (someplace warm would be nice). In the meantime, we'll work on making 2008 one of our best years yet - it will be interesting to look back a year from now to see what I decide to entitle next year's chapter...
Happy new year everyone!