• Erin Summers

Army Grad Jon Rhattigan Makes NFL Debut

by Erin Summers

"It was good for his first ball game. He was really excited that he got a chance to play and he helped out. Special teams were extraordinary today."

That was Pete Carrol, Head Coach of the NFL's Seattle Seahawks, after the team's game on Sunday, Sept. 12. He was speaking about none other than Jon Rhattigan, who had a week to remember with Seattle.

After being elevated from the practice squad, the former Army linebacker made his NFL debut on Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts.

"It was very surreal," he said on our zoom conversation when I asked him how it felt to step onto the field for the first time for his first NFL game, "such a great feeling, and to be wearing a Seahawks uniform, such a privilege. I feel very blessed to have had that opportunity, to go out there against the Colts, playing in Lucas Oil Stadium. It was a great season opener and a great team win for us."

Rhattigan sees a lot of value in playing and learning from his days at West Point, "Being able to graduate from West Point and going through my four years there, that helped me tremendously. I knew that it would throughout my time there, but I didn't see how much it would until now, until I'm truly out of there, graduated and playing in the National Football League.

Former Army linebacker Jon Rhattigan receives applause for the the Corps of Cadets after picking off an interception during a Black Knights game in 2021.

"That's another blessing in my life. I just feel so fortunate to have graduated and gone through West Point and learned everything that I did, because that's a place I'll be forever indebted to. All the relationships that I made and all the lessons learned, it certainly helped develop me into who I am today.

"Now that I'm starting my football career, outside of college, in the professional world, being at West Point really taught me a lot about discipline and time management and I think that's been huge for me just in the first four or five months of my NFL career."

Jeff Monken, who coached Rhattigan at Army, shared his thoughts on his former star linebacker making his pro debut, "I'm very happy for Jon and proud of him -- not surprised. He's a really good football player. I'm sure they're going to be really, really happy with his performance, just how hard he plays and how tough he is.

Rhattigan joins nearly a dozen other Service Academy graduates who are currently with NFL teams:

  • 2011 Army grad Alejandro Villanueva is an offensive tackle with the Baltimore Ravens.

  • New Orleans tight end Garrett Griffin graduated from Air Force in 2016

  • Eagles offensive tackle Brent Toth played at Army (2017)

  • As did Philadelphia safety Elijah Riley (2011).

  • Longsnapper Joe Cordona (Navy, 2005) and

  • Quarterback-turned-wide receiver Malcom Perry (Navy 2020) are with the New England Patriots.

  • Former Army (2020) linebacker Cole Christiansen is with the Los Angeles Chargers.

  • Houston tight end Paul Quessenberry played at Navy (2005).

  • Former Air Force Falcons Parker Ferguson (2021) and

  • Zane Lewis (2020) are with the New York Jets.

edited for web by Joe Harman