National Football League
Logan Ryan announces retirement, dishes on Tom Brady, Bill Belichick
National Football League

Logan Ryan announces retirement, dishes on Tom Brady, Bill Belichick

Updated Apr. 9, 2024 9:07 p.m. ET

After 11 NFL seasons, two-time Super Bowl champion safety Logan Ryan is calling it a career.

Ryan made his retirement announcement in a social media post on Tuesday morning and in an appearance on "The Herd" with Colin Cowherd, explaining that he had achieved his major career goals — winning championships and ensuring financial security for himself and his family.

Logan Ryan retires after 11 seasons in the NFL

Ryan won both of his titles with the New England Patriots, who drafted him in the third round out of Rutgers in 2013. After the second of those Super Bowl wins with Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, He then signed with the Tennessee Titans in free agency, joining then-Titans head coach and former Patriots linebacker Mike Vrabel. Ryan also spent time with the New York Giants, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and San Francisco 49ers. Ryan and his wife have two children, who Ryan cites as primary motivators for him to walk away from the NFL.

"I think at this point, it's best walking away healthy physically, mentally and emotionally, with my head on straight" Ryan told Cowherd. "Ready to be a father at my kids' games and maybe do some TV, do some broadcasting, but make that schedule work in my life and really spend some time with my kids."


But while Ryan may be ready to take a step back from the NFL, he told Keyshawn Johnson on Johnson's podcast "All Facts No Brakes" that he is very surprised Belichick and Vrabel will be taking a step back as well. Both coaches mutually parted ways with their respective teams after the offseason, and neither landed another head coaching job. Belichick has spent the past several weeks consulting for college football programs, while Vrabel took an advisory role with the Cleveland Browns.

Both Belichick and Vrabel are known for being discipline-minded, defense-oriented head coaches, and Ryan believes that the NFL is trending in a different direction.

"I definitely think that times are changing," Ryan said. "[Teams in] the league are looking for more offensive-minded guys that are quarterback developers now, and maybe they just feel like Belichick's way, they're not sure if they're willing to change so much about the organization for what he needs. I don't know what he's requiring. I know in New England he had a lot of roster control and a lot of power. … But pound-for-pound as a coach, he's definitely one of the best available."

When Johnson asked about Ryan's experience playing for Belichick early in his career, Ryan praised his former coach's ability to get players to focus on their specific tasks within a broader play design, game plan or scheme.

"He is so smart in a way to simplify the game for us," Ryan said. "He made the game seem so simple. ‘Logan, I don't want you to worry about that. Just don't let this guy beat you outside, and [then-teammate] Devin [McCourty] has got you inside. I don't care how many interceptions you have or what Darelle Revis is doing over there — we are doubling this guy, period.' And there was no ego [among us] where someone would say, ‘Man, I want to cover this guy one-on-one.' It was like, ‘all right, let's just double him. Let's just win by 40. What are we sweating about?'"

Ryan said he wished more teams played with the goal of taking away the opposing offense's best player or disrupting their rhythm, and called Belichick a "genius" for his ability to explain that to his players so they could accomplish that goal.

One of Ryan's fondest memories in the Patriots' home of Gillette Stadium, however, comes from when he was there on the opposing team, playing for the Titans in their divisional round matchup against New England in the 2019-20 NFL playoffs. Ryan famously picked off Brady's final career pass as a Patriot for a game-sealing pick-six.

Brady later got a lot of laughs on social media when he posted that Ryan — now once again his teammate on the Buccaneers — gave his quarterback the ball from the infamous interception and asked him to sign it.

However, Ryan said Brady was actually in on the prank, the most notable example of a habit Ryan picked up where he would troll family members who were fans of certain teams by presenting them with footballs he intercepted against those teams — i.e. giving a ball he intercepted off an Aaron Rodgers pass to a Green Bay Packers fan.

"I had that ball literally just laying around in my office, and I said, ‘Man, I gotta get Tom to sign this. I don't know how many more games he's going to play,'" Ryan said. "So I snuck it in in one of our last games. [Teammates] would put jerseys and stuff next to his locker, and he'd knock it out and sign them. … So I stuck the ball in there and was like, ‘Yo, can you sign this one and date this one?'"

But Ryan had already put a date on the note, and Brady instantly realized where the ball was from.

It was one of the last interactions Ryan had as a teammate with Brady, who retired for good weeks later. But Ryan will fondly remember his time playing with the man many regard as the greatest quarterback of all time.

"I love Tom Brady," Ryan said. "I just saw greatness every day. It's like playing with [Michael] Jordan. He set the tone every practice with his work ethic, and I just studied it. He was there early every day. I remember being like ‘Bro, what time do you get here?' He was like, ‘You just got to get here earlier and find out.'"

So Ryan would start coming to the Patriots' facility earlier — 5:30 a.m., 5:15, 5:00. Three cars would already be in the team parking lot — Brady's, Belichick's, and one belonging to current FOX Sports NFL analyst Julian Edelman, a wide receiver on the team at the time.

"Brady's leadership style, man, he's taught me a lot," Ryan said. "So much, I can never really repay him for it."

Ryan played sparingly over the last two seasons, joining the Buccaneers in 2022 to reunite with Brady and joining the 49ers late last season to chase another Super Bowl championship after San Francisco lost starting safety Talanoa Hufanga to a torn ACL. While there, he got a lot of questions about Brady from someone looking to follow in his footsteps — 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy.

"He kind of has this gunfire about him, this dog about him," Ryan said of Purdy. "The 49ers were a team that was used to playing ahead. In the playoffs, we got behind a bunch and Purdy was coming on in the second half going for it, making plays with his feet, making plays with his arm. … He processes like a Kirk Cousins, but he also has this dog in him that I don't think people fully see."

Ryan was on a Thanksgiving Week cruise when 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan called him to recruit him after Hufanga's injury, and Ryan is happy he got another Super Bowl trip out of it, this time one his children could watch — an impressive way to end an impressive career.

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