Ryan was drafted in the eleventh round of the 1978 NFL Draft by the New York Jets. He played professionally for thirteen seasons, twelve seasons with the New York Jets and one season with the Philadelphia Eagles.
Ryan was employed for several years as a color analyst on Tennessee Titans radio broadcasts. He is now a home builder in Knoxville, Tennessee. He also works as a football analyst for the University of Tennessee's Vol Radio Network, cohosting the weekly "Big Orange Hotline," and joining Bob Kesling, Tim Priest, and John Wilkerson on the "Kickoff Call-In Show" prior to UT football games.