Can Ryan Spadola Find A Role On the Lions’ Roster In 2017?
Ryan Spadola did not even get a written profile on nfl.com in his draft year. The Howell, New Jersey product had been recognized as one of the state’s 100 best athletes as a high school senior and was listed among the nation’s top 170. Spadola also excelled academically and was a member of the National Honor Society. How does a person like that end up playing for the Lehigh Mountain Hawks? Spadola says on the Lehigh website “I fell in love with the atmosphere in which Lehigh was located, the campus was gorgeous, all of the people were welcoming, and it was a place where I could see myself for my entire college experience.”
As a sophomore Spadola was the first 1,000 yard receiver for Lehigh in nine years. In his sophomore season, he added a Patriot league record 1,614 yards. In his senior year, he came down with mononucleosis, and missed two games, playing in several others before receiving his diagnosis. The result was awful senior game tape and a lack of production in the most important season for an aspiring NFL player. He went to the NFL Combine, and put up good but not great times. This was by no means the biggest tragedy of Spadola’s life up to that point, however. His father committed suicide in 2006. Ryan Spadola’s attitude in the face of adversity is commendable. “I was able to move on in my life and I was able to grow from it,” he told Daryl Slater of nj.com
Ryan Spadola’s Professional Career
Spadola signed with the New York Jets after the 2013 draft. He earned a spot on the Jets roster with solid special teams play. He capped the preseason with a 110-yard receiving performance in the final game. The team released him on October 5th, 2013, with the intent of giving him the rest of the season on their practice squad. Spadola had other offers though. He signed instead with the Miami Dolphins to be on their practice squad. He climbed to their active roster less than a month later, again showing great special teams kick coverage ability. Spadola closed out the 2013 season with four games played for the Dolphins, his only logged games in the NFL.
In 2014 Spadola had a rocky ride. Released by the Dolphins after training camp, he signed with the Falcons’ practice squad. He found himself out of work again and signed to the practice squad of the Arizona Cardinals. At the conclusion of training camp in 2015 Spadola was looking for work again. He found it as a mid-season addition to the Lions’ practice squad. Spadola will seek to show the Lions that he can contribute on special teams, and serve as a capable reserve for the offense in 2017.