Ashley Ryan had one request for her husband: Bring home a game ball. Maybe that seems unimportant, but given everything that the couple had endured during the days leading up to this Giants’ game against Washington, Logan Ryan wanted to deliver.
The panicked phone call. The trip to the emergency room. The ectopic pregnancy that led to a life-saving surgery. Ryan had permission to leave the Giants and fly to Florida, where his wife was hospitalized, and forget about football.
But what if football could make them forget, for even a moment, about this emotional week? Ryan decided to stay with the Giants, and in the final minutes of another game that looked like it was headed toward disaster, the veteran defensive back fulfilled that promise to his wife and helped seal a victory, too, for his team.
Ryan stepped in front of a pass from Washington quarterback Alex Smith, an interception that helped the Giants win their second game of the season. For the former Rutgers star, who had written Ashley’s name on his cleats, it was a ray of sunshine at the end of a difficult few days.
“No one really knows what I went through emotionally this week,” Ryan said when the 23-20 Giants victory was over. Even his teammates were in the dark until Ryan revealed his wife’s medical crisis during an interview, detailing how advice from the Giants’ trainer, Justin Maher, after a Monday night loss to Tampa Bay may have saved her life.
Sign up for Giants Extra: Get exclusive news, behind-the-scenes observations and the ability to text directly with reporters
That night, Ashley Ryan had texted her husband complaining of severe pain in her abdomen. He consulted Maher before he left MetLife Stadium, and the trainer told him that she go to the emergency room as soon as possible.
It was there she was diagnosed with an ectopic pregnancy, a condition caused by a fertilized egg growing outside of a woman’s uterus that can lead to life-threatening bleeding. She had surgery the next morning to repair a ruptured fallopian tube.
“The pain was unbearable. The emotions that followed were unbearable,” Ashley Ryan wrote on her Instagram page. “I am still sorting through most of this in my own head. How that could have been baby ‘Ozzy,’ a name I’ve always had picked out for the third child I never planned to have.”
That Logan Ryan would find a way to compartmentalize his family’s crisis and focus on football is no surprise to his teammates. Ryan has been a leader since the Giants signed him this offseason, both with his play on the field and the way he carries himself off of it.
And, on this day, they needed every steadying presence. The Giants rolled out to a 20-3 lead, but as anyone who has followed this team over the past few seasons knows, even the victories that look easy end up becoming far more difficult than necessary.
Smith, whose own return from a gruesome broken leg that nearly killed him is one of the NFL’s best stories, had the ball with less than two minutes to go. He already had pulled Washington to within a field goal, and with the way the Giants defense was giving up chunks of yardage, another loss seemed inevitable.
Then, minutes after safety Jabrill Peppers ended one Washington drive with an interception, it was Ryan’s turn. “Call it again and I’ll be there,” he told defensive coordinator Patrick Graham about a play that Ryan had screwed up earlier in the game, and this time, he delivered.
After intercepting the pass, Ryan ran to the end zone, pointed at the FOX cameras and said, “That’s for you babe.” The ball he had promised Ashley was cradled in his arms, and this Giants team, he said, was “done coming up short.”
If that’s true, Ryan’s interception could be the turning point. But first, this moment is for the people who matter to him the most.
“There was no doubt in my mind that if my wife was in stable condition that I was going to play this game because I play for my family,” Ryan said. “At the same time, my wife and I mourn in silence of our lost child during that process, too, so we had a loss, as well.
“It was an emotional week for me and her, and that game was definitely for my wife, definitely for my family.”
Get Giants text messages: Cut through the clutter of social media and text directly with beat writers. Plus, exclusive news and analysis. Sign up now for a free trial.
Thank you for relying on us to provide the journalism you can trust. Please consider supporting NJ.com with a subscription.
Steve Politi may be reached at [email protected].