Ryan grew up in Morgan Hill, California and attended Live Oak High School where he excelled in football, track and basketball. After high school, Ryan went to UCLA on a full athletic scholarship. During his last two seasons the Bruins enjoyed a 20-game win streak and won back-to-back Pac-10 championships.
After graduating from UCLA, Ryan embarked on a ten-year professional football career that wasn’t always easy. Ryan signed with the Dallas Cowboys in 1999 and played one season as a fullback and special teamer before being allocated to play in NFL Europe for the Rhein Fire. Ryan came back from Dusseldorf, Germany with a World Bowl championship ring but the Cowboys cut him after training camp in 2000. He went on to play for the Jacksonville Jaguars that year. In 2001 Ryan was preparing for another season with the Jaguars when he got cut during training camp and didn’t play a down of football that season. Ryan got another opportunity in 2002 with the Seahawks but was cut again after training camp and spent another season out of football. After two disappointing years out of football, Ryan went on to play five more seasons with the Buffalo Bills. He finished his professional football career playing for the Florida Tuskers and Omaha Nighthawks of the United Football League. He retired in 2010.
Ryan and his wife Dawn live in Frisco, Texas with their two children Will and Bryn. Will was diagnosed with autism at the age of 3. Ryan has made it his mission to use his platform to spread autism awareness and hope for families affected by this disorder. Ryan is also active in Garth Brooks’ foundation Teammates for Kids and is the current director of football operations for the Miracle League of Frisco.