Ex-St. Joe's star learning to love the Cowboys By ALLEN WILSON News Sports Reporter 4/26/2004 Associated Press St. Joe's graduate Sean Ryan became a Dallas Cowboy on Sunday. Sean Ryan grew up hating the Dallas Cowboys. Being a Buffalo native and an avid Bills fan, it goes with the territory. Ryan, a St. Joe's graduate and a senior tight end from Boston College, had the nerve to relay those feelings to Cowboys owner Jerry Jones during their meeting last week. "I told Mr. Jones that there was no team I hated more," Ryan said Sunday after being drafted in the fifth round by - who else? - the Cowboys. "Fortunately for me, he didn't take it personally." Actually, Ryan has the Bills to thank for him landing in Dallas. The Cowboys used the pick (144th overall) they got as part of the trade that sent their first-round choice to the Bills in exchange for Buffalo's second- and fifth-round selections this year and a first-rounder in the 2005 draft. Ryan really didn't care how it happened as long as he was drafted. "I'm pretty excited," he said. "During my visit last week I got a good feeling about it. Coach (Bill) Parcells said I was his kind of guy - a tough Irishman. It's a great organization with a lot of tradition. I'm really looking forward to the opportunity." Ryan is well aware of Parcells' reputation of being hard on rookies, but said he's ready for whatever the Big Tuna dishes out. "The coaches down there said he can be hard on you, but he's positive with his criticism," said Ryan, who will join former Sweet Home product Keith O'Neill on the Cowboys' roster. "He's a great coach and I know he can make me a better player, so I'm excited about playing for him." Dallas already has Jason Witten and Dan Campbell, but wanted another blocking tight end with reliable hands. Ryan had 35 catches for 447 yards and six touchdowns (second highest ever for a BC tight end) this season and was named second-team All-Big East. The 6-foot-4, 264-pound Ryan is not the swiftest of tight ends, but he has good athletic ability and is known for being a tough and fundamentally sound blocker. Called the "most competitive player in the Big East" by USA Today and the hardest worker on the team by the BC coaching staff, Ryan finished his career with 75 catches for 950 yards (12.7 avg) and 12 touchdowns in 37 games on offense. His 12 TDs rank second among BC tight ends. His future is at tight end, and it could be a bright one. He hopes to join fellow St. Joe's alum and Chicago Bears linebacker Bryan Knight in the NFL. Ten-year veteran offensive lineman Vaughn Parker, another St. Joe's graduate, is a free agent after he was released by San Diego. "I think I can come in and make a contribution, especially on special teams," Ryan said. "I played against some great players, some first-round picks in college, so hopefully I can take that experience to the next level. I know it will be a challenge, but I'm going to stay humble, work hard and do whatever it takes to make the team.