Ryan Thelwell
Born: (1973-04-06) April 6, 1973 (age 48)
Montego Bay, Jamaica
Career information
CFL statusNational
Height6 ft 1 in (185 cm)
Weight193 lb (88 kg)
CFL draft1998 / Round: 2 / Pick: 9
Drafted byBC Lions
NFL draft1998 / Round: 7 / Pick: 215
Drafted bySan Francisco 49ers
Career history
As player
1998San Diego Chargers
1999Jacksonville Jaguars*
1999Pittsburgh Steelers
20012006BC Lions
20072010Calgary Stampeders
2011BC Lions
*Offseason and/or practice squad member only
Career highlights and awards
CFL West All-Star2004, 2005
Career stats
Receptions-receiving yards (NFL)16-268
Receiving touchdowns (NFL)1
Receptions-receiving yards (CFL)436-6,670
Receiving touchdowns (CFL)39

Ryan Thelwell (born April 6, 1973) is a Jamaican-Canadian retired professional wide receiver of American football and Canadian football. Thelwell was originally drafted 9th overall by the Lions in the 1998 CFL Draft and by the San Francisco 49ers of the National Football League in the 1998 NFL Draft in the seventh round with the 215th overall pick.[1] Thelwell played college football with the University of Minnesota.

Early life and college

Thelwell was born in Montego Bay, Jamaica and grew up in London, Ontario, Canada.[2][3] He graduated from London Catholic Central High School in 1993 and played on the football, volleyball, basketball, and track teams.[3] Thelwell attended the University of Minnesota. After redshirting a year, Thelwell played wide receiver on the Minnesota Golden Gophers football team from 1994 to 1997 seasons. In 7 games in his freshman season (1994), Thelwell caught 24 passes (including 3 touchdowns) for 406 yards and had a long reception of 80. In 1995, Thelwell caught 58 passes for 775 yards and 6 touchdowns. In 1996, Thelwell made 54 catches for 1,051 yards and 5 touchdowns.[4] He was a second-team All-Big Ten Conference media selection and honorable mention all-Big Ten coaches' selection.

Professional career

National Football League

Thelwell was drafted 215th overall by the San Francisco 49ers in the 7th round of the 1998 NFL Draft, but failed to stick with the team following training camp. He then signed with the San Diego Chargers and played in six games, starting three. He caught his first pass of the season against the Baltimore Ravens on November 15, 1998 and scored his first and only touchdown of the season on December 27 in the season finale against the Arizona Cardinals.[5] Thelwell caught a crucial, 30-yard touchdown pass on 4th-and-20 with 16 seconds left that would tie the game at 13 after the extra point. However, San Diego would lose 16-13.[6] Only Thelwell caught more passes than Arizona linebacker Kwamie Lassiter intercepted passes from San Diego quarterback Craig Whelihan.[7] One of Lassiter's interceptions bounced off Thelwell's hands.[8] For the 1998 season with San Diego, Thelwell caught 16 passes for 268 yards.[5] He signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers the following season.

Canadian Football League

Having been drafted 9th overall by the BC Lions, Thelwell signed with the defending Grey Cup champions on June 6, 2001.[9] Thelwell would go on to play the next six seasons with the Lions, accumulating 335 receptions for 4981 yards and 30 touchdowns. He was named a West Division All-Star in 2004 and 2005, while recording his first 1000-yard season in 2005. He saw a drop-off in production in 2006 with 625 receiving yards, he was a key contributor in the playoffs, recording nine catches for 83 yards, leading to a Lions' win in the 94th Grey Cup.

Following his Grey Cup win, Thelwell became a free agent and elected to sign with the Calgary Stampeders on February 16, 2007. Over four seasons in Calgary, he caught 106 passes for 1747 yards and nine touchdowns. He played in the Stampeders 96th Grey Cup victory over the Montreal Alouettes, the same team that lost to the Lions in 2006. On January 25, 2011, Thelwell announced his retirement from professional football.[10][11]

Due to an injury sustained by Akeem Foster, the Lions brought Thelwell out of retirement and signed him on October 25, 2011.[12] Thelwell was on the 46-man roster when the team won the 99th Grey Cup, earning him his third Grey Cup championship in six seasons. Almost immediately after the win, Thelwell again announced his retirement on December 1, 2011.[13]

Personal life

Thelwell moved to London, Ontario when he was four years old.

Ryan Thelwell also made an appearance at the William Aberhart Trojans 2007 football banquet in Calgary on November 16, 2007.

Ryan is married with four kids.

Ryan Thelwell was inducted into the City of London Sports Hall of Fame in November 2015.


  1. ^ 1998 NFL Draft on databaseFootball.com Archived March 27, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ Beamish, Mike (January 11, 2007). "Thelwell among big-name CFL free agents". Canwest News Service. Retrieved April 29, 2008.
  3. ^ a b Reed, Jeffrey (February 1, 2011). "London's Ryan Thelwell retires from the CFL". The Londoner. Retrieved January 10, 2013.
  4. ^ "Ryan Thelwell". University of Minnesota. Archived from the original on June 10, 1997.
  5. ^ a b "Ryan Thelwell game logs, 1998". NFL. Retrieved January 10, 2013.
  6. ^ "Cardinals 16, Chargers 13". Associated Press. December 27, 1998. Retrieved January 10, 2013.
  7. ^ Simers, T.J. (December 28, 1998). "Officials and Jacke Help Raise Arizona". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 10, 2013.
  8. ^ Walsh, Chris (December 28, 1998). "Wild Cards". Tucson Citizen. Retrieved January 11, 2013.
  9. ^ 2009 Canadian Football League Facts, Figures & Records, Canadian Football League Properties/Publications, Toronto, Ontario, ISBN 978-0-9739425-4-5, p.175
  10. ^ http://cfl.ca/article/canadian-thelwell-calls-it-a-career
  11. ^ https://www.tsn.ca/cfl/story/?id=350995
  12. ^ http://www.bclions.com/article/lions-sign-ryan-thelwell-and-neil-mckinlay
  13. ^ http://www.bclions.com/article/bc-lions-thelwell-and-robertson-announce-retirements