Like all head coaches, the Joe Judge of the New York Giants would excuse a player from practice only under extraordinary circumstances. And that’s exactly what defensive back Logan Ryan faced this week.
Ryan was departing MetLife Stadium following the Giants’ loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at 1 a.m. when he received a phone call from his wife Ashley. She had flown to Florida, where they have a home, so she could vote in the presidential election.
“She was telling me about some pain she had in her stomach,” said Ryan, who has two children with Ashley. “She wanted to sleep it off. She was in extreme pain, but she said she’ll wait until the morning.
“I talked to one of our trainers about the symptoms. He said, ‘No, she needs to go to the ER.’ My wife ended up going to the ER, and they ended up catching (an) ectopic pregnancy, where the egg was in the wrong place in her fallopian tube and it was about to burst. She ended up going into emergency surgery. They ended up saving her and ended up preventing a lot of what could have been done. My kids are okay; my wife is recovering well, she’s okay.”
Ryan was just as gratified with Judge’s response to his family’s situation later in the day as he was with Maher’s initial reaction. “Joe said, ‘If you need to fly to Florida, don’t worry about football,'” Ryan said.
Judge isn’t seeking plaudits for the sensitivity and understanding he displayed toward the Ryans.”I think you need to keep things in perspective,” Judge said today. “There are some things that a guy may come to you and you say, ‘Hey look, we can’t miss practice or a game for that.’ There are other things that are real life critical. You have to have relationships with your players that you understand what makes them tick, and they have to have a relationship with you to understand that you have their best interests at heart.”
Adds Ryan, “I know we care about winning and losing, but there are really good people here. There are really a lot of people behind the scenes that are working really hard for us to get wins. I’ll do everything I can to play for a coach like that and play for an organization like this because if that wasn’t the case, I don’t know if my wife would be here today.”
When Ryan, an eight-year veteran, signed with the Giants on Sept. 4, one of the reasons was the chance to work again with Judge. Ryan spent his first four NFL seasons with the New England Patriots where Judge was an assistant coach with the team. They developed a mutual respect that has continued.
“Honestly, I’m extremely grateful for this organization and for Joe, and for everyone to understand that there are things bigger than football, especially this year,” Ryan said. “That’s why I came here.”