As Ryan Ramczyk returns home to Stevens Point to get ready to host his first ever lineman camp at the end of the month, his accomplishments are well known: First-Team All-American at Wisconsin, first round draft pick by the New Orleans Saints in 2017, and second-team All-Pro in his second season in the league. Life is good.
"It's been everything I've ever dreamed of,” says Ramczyk. “Running out on that field for the first time was just so surreal.
What many aren't familiar with is Ramczyk walking away from football at his original college, Winona State, then going to two tech schools, before getting his career back on track at hometown UW-Stevens Point, using that as a springboard to Madison.
“Once I took myself out of the game, you know it made me realize what I was missing out on, and what I really loved to do,” said Ramczyk.
From SPASH, to UWSP, to Madison, to New Orleans, with a couple other stops in between, Ramczyk's journey to NFL stardom hasn't been the most traditional. One constant through it all: His father Randy, with guidance and support to keep pushing, and never give up on the dream.
"It was certainly not the traditional journey that you'd normally go on,” said Randy Ramczyk. “As Ryan said there were ups and downs."
During the downs, Randy was always there for Ryan
"He played a huge part throughout the whole process, you know we talked just about every day,” says Ryan. “He was there to mentor me through those challenges."
For Randy, experiencing maybe the proudest moment any Wisconsin parent could imagine made it all worth it
Randy explains: "To be able to watch him play at Lambeau Field, and being there growing up, so many times going to the games, and now seeing him play on that field has just been an incredible experience."
So on this Father's Day weekend, what's the biggest thing Ryan can thank Randy for?
"I think he's been a shoulder to lean on my entire life. He's always tried to guide me in the right direction,” says Ryan. “There were ups and downs like we talked about, and he was there for me to talk to, to give me advice, and to help me along the way."
Ryan's camp will help young players who want to be just like him, and everything coming full circle couldn't be more perfect for Randy.
"There's a lot of pride, it's been an incredible experience."