Former George Washington High School (Charleston, W. Va.) and University of North Carolina wide receiver and return specialist Ryan Switzer announced his retirement from pro football at the age of 27 last week. Switzer called it quits after suffering a significant injury for the third straight season. Switzer spent much of last season with the Pittsburgh Steelers organization, following a stint with the Cleveland Browns. Switzer hasn’t seen much of the field in over the last three seasons, with either the Steelers or the Browns, spending much of that time on injured reserve.
Switzer’s retirement announcement post on social media read, “In light of a recent injury, I feel I’m no longer able to meet the physical demands of the game. I have decided to retire from the NFL. I want to thank my teammates and coaches from every level and each organization that provided me an opportunity to play.”
Despite his short NFL career, nothing can take away from what Swizter accomplished and how well he represented the Mountain State. After electrifying the state of West Virginia as a do-it all talent, the Kennedy Award winning George Washington high school player decided to take his talents south to Chapel Hill, attending the University of North Carolina. During his tenure as a Tar Hill, he wasted no time making his impact felt, quickly becoming a two-time All-American return specialist and a four-time All-ACC selection, as both a returner and a wide receiver. Switzer ended his college career tied for an NCAA record with five punt return touchdowns as a freshman in 2013. Switzer finished his college career with 4,092 all-purpose yards and 26 total touchdowns.
After his massively successful college career concluded, Switzer was selected in the fourth round of the 2017 NFL Draft by the Dallas Cowboys, but was traded after just one season to the Oakland Raiders and then again to Pittsburgh Steelers in 2018. Switzer was released by the Steelers at the end of training camp in 2020 before earning a spot on the Cleveland Browns practice roster on with the Cleveland Browns, not ever appearing in a game for the team.
Following a short-stint as a young journeyman wide receiver and return man, Switzer found a home in Pittsburgh, playing 25 of his 41 NFL games with the Steelers. In his time with the Steeler, Switzer caught 44 passes for 280 yards and one touchdown. On offense, Switzer was mostly utilized as a slot receiver, but his true utility as a player was always as a return man. Switzer acted as the Steelers’ primary return man during the time he was healthy, accounting for 1,133 all-purpose yards during his best season with the team in 2018.