How Ryan Neal Never Gave Up Football

April 9th, 2023

Bucs safety Ryan Neal.

Joe found a really cool video demonstrating the never-say-die attitude of new Bucs safety Ryan Neal.

Neal had knocked around the NFL since 2018, bouncing on and off practice squads and getting placed on the Covid-list. He had an uphill climb as an undrafted free agent.

And it actually got to a point where Neal thought perhaps the NFL wasn’t for him. Joe found a video interview he did for NFL Network with Andrew Siciliano that, while undated, seems to be from early in the 2020 season.

Late in September of that season, Neal was called up by Seattle from its practice squad and played quite a few snaps against Dallas. He had a pick, a pass defended and four tackles in that game.

That seemed to be the turning point of his career as he then started the next four games for Seattle.

So Siciliano asked Neal about how he nearly gave up football.

Andrew Siciliano: How close were you to quitting?

Ryan Neal: I mean, I was this close [holds index finger near thumb]

Siciliano: What would you have done?

Neal: I don’t even know. It was just a moment of, ‘Man, I’ve been doing this for so long, and it’s the same result over and over again. Is this really for me? Am I meant to be doing this?’

Neal was engaged at the time and he had a sitdown with his fiancée and brother Mike, a former Packers linebacker, to help him decide his future. He decided to keep pounding the rock.

“What do I have to do?” Neal said he pondered after so many chances to stick with a team’s 53-man roster came up empty. “I thought about [giving up] plenty of times.

“But once you get to that point of feeling like quitting, you have to press on. You never know how close you are.”

Neal said at the end of the day, he didn’t want to be the diamond miner that put his hammer down and gave up pounding a rock of coal only to realize later he was one swing away from discovering a diamond.

It seems the Bucs may have found their diamond among the coal as well.

20 Responses to “How Ryan Neal Never Gave Up Football”

  1. Jack Clark Says:

    Glad to have him on our team. Hopefully Todd Bowels won’t have him running around like a headless chicken because he doesn’t know who to cover

  2. ModHairKen Says:

    Seems like Seattle front office really expected him to slide under the radar.


  3. Larrd Says:

    Such pretty hair.

    Never heard of him.

  4. Steven007 Says:

    Ken, That’s the story I read as well. Happy to have him. Allows us to focus the draft a bit more and not be tempted to pick a safety too high when we have many other needs.

  5. Lt. Dan Says:

    “he didn’t want to be the diamond miner that put his hammer down..” nice analogy. I hope this kid is in fact the answer at the other spot. Happy Easter JBF and fans!

  6. Tee Says:

    If this Bucs secondary can stay healthy. Oooooh Wee! I think we are going to really try and win it with Defense this year. I wouldn’t be surprised if Bucs go edge rusher in 1st or 2nd rd.

  7. Joe in Michigan Says:

    Tee Says:
    April 9th, 2023 at 9:46 am
    If this Bucs secondary can stay healthy. Oooooh Wee! I think we are going to really try and win it with Defense this year. I wouldn’t be surprised if Bucs go edge rusher in 1st or 2nd rd.
    This is what the Bucs NEED to do.

  8. #99 the Big fella Says:

    If devin white can stay focused and learn to cover we will have a pretty good defense this year

  9. tbbucs3 Says:

    The Bucs will absolutely have a good defense next year….how do you think we made the playoffs with an incompetent offense last season?

  10. Lt. Dan Says:

    @tbbucs: We made the playoffs last year because the ineptness of the rest of the NFC south. The Bucs backed in with a losing record and subsequently got exposed and humiliated at home by Dallas.

  11. tbbucs3 Says:

    Bucs went 8-9 with a bottom 5 offense, how? The D carried the team for much of the season despite an aging quarterback who didn’t want to take any hits.

  12. Go Bucs Says:

    Todd Bowles has made an amazing defense, I think the defense is what will carry is for a long time or as long as Todd Bowles is HC. It reminds me of Tony Dungy a bit tho with a really good defense but offense couldn’t do much

  13. 80forBrady Says:

    I think Neal can start along wth Winfield. Still ned to add safety depth in FA or late round draft picks or UDFA.

  14. Dooley Says:

    I’m starting to think Neals’ best quality is that he’s feels he’s got a lot to prove to himself. You can think of any great player, in any sport and the overlap amongst those guys is that they’re hard to satisfy and tougher to beat.

  15. Austin Says:

    First of all, our defense us loaded… PFF top 5 Safety in Neal, pair with Antoine winfield, and if we can get pro bowl years out of out corners?? GTFOH we’re going to cover TF out of people it’s gunna be awesome…. David and White stunt blitzing up the gut, opportunistic defense.. Im ready

  16. Goatfarmer Says:

    Love this Neal signing. Another leap for Licht.

  17. #99 the Big fella Says:

    Goat, you did it! Positivity.. lol I knew you could do it!

  18. Goatfarmer Says:

    99 I’m positive about the owners, the GM, and most of the roster.

  19. Fred McNeil Says:

    He sounds like a nice pickup.

  20. teacherman777 Says:

    Pull Devin White on 3rd down.

    He’s not a 3 down LB.

    Pull Devin White on 3rd down.

    Let him blitz on 1st and 2nd.

    But get him off the field on 3rd down.