Ryan Switzer recently decided to hang up his cleats and retire from the NFL after five seasons. Switzer was forced into a premature retirement due to a recent injury. He made his decision public in a Twitter post on July 18th saying, “The game of football has changed my life. When I began my journey at 10 years old, I could only dream of how far it would take me. I have dedicated the last 17 years to maximizing the gifts that God granted me. I promised myself at the beginning of my journey that I would not shy away from the dedication and commitment that it would take to achieve my goal. From my days at UNC, to my 5 years in the NFL, I never deviated from that promise. Unfortunately, in light of a recent injury I feel I’m no longer able to meet the physical demands of the game. That said, I have decided to retire from the NFL. I want to thank my teammates and coaches from every level and each organization that provided me an opportunity to play. I want to thank my parents for their unwavering support, and my wonderful wife, who has been my rock since the day we met. Although my playing days are over, I’m looking forward to using my knowledge and experience I’ve accumulated to help the next generation of players through coaching. I promise to bring the same relentless mindset that enabled me to live my dream of playing NFL football to this next chapter of my life!” During his time in the NFL, Switzer was a member of the Dallas Cowboys, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Cleveland Browns. He played wide receiver and also spent time returning kicks as well.
During his time at North Carolina, Switzer was a standout wide receiver. He finished his college career with 243 receptions for 2903 yards and 19 touchdowns. Along with this, he was also a return man in college. On 99 punt returns, he totaled 1082 return yards and seven touchdowns. Switzer only accounted for two kick returns during his time at North Carolina and in those returns, he totaled 25 yards. This was enough for the Cowboys to select him in the fourth round with the 133rd overall pick of the 2017 NFL draft.
Switzer never got too much of a chance to show what he was capable of in the NFL. He spent a majority of his career as a practice squad player and only saw the field in 41 games over five years. Out of the 41 games that he participated in, he started in only one of them. He began his career with the Cowboys and spent one season with the organization. In that season, he went for six catches for 41 yards. However, he saw most of his action as a return specialist during his NFL career. In his rookie season with Dallas, Switzer a combined 856 return yards and one touchdown on 55 combined kick and punt returns. After his rookie year, he made his way to the Pittsburgh Steelers where he would spend two seasons. During his time with the Steelers, Switzer would have 44 catches for 280 yards and a touchdown. In the return game, he would total 1054 return yards on 73 returns. After his two years in Pittsburgh, Switzer would sign with the Cleveland Browns where he would be stuck on their practice squad for the final two seasons of his career. With the Browns having a weaker receiver room this season, there is a chance that Switzer could have seen the field this year if he had not suffered the injury that would go on to end his career. Although this chapter of his NFL life has come to an end, it will be interesting to see what all he can accomplish as a coach.