Jon Daniel Runyan (born November 27, 1973) is the U.S. Representative for New Jersey's 3rd congressional district. He is a member of the Republican Party. He is a former American football offensive tackle in the National Football League, where he played for fourteen seasons. He was a participant in the 2003 Pro Bowl following the 2002 NFL season. He is the fourth NFL veteran to be elected to Congress.
He was drafted by the Houston Oilers in the fourth round of the 1996 NFL Draft and later played for the Philadelphia Eagles and San Diego Chargers.
Runyan was the last active NFL player to have played for the Oilers. He played college football at Michigan where he was a 1995 All-Big Ten Conference selection. In high school, he had been an All-State (Michigan) selection in basketball and two-time state champion shot putter.
Runyan was born in Flint, Michigan where his father was an employee of General Motors.
Runyan continues to hold the Flint, Michigan Carman-Ainsworth Middle School shot put record with a 1988 heave of 50 feet 7 inches (15.42 m). Runyan was a two-time Michigan High School Athletic Association state shotput champion for Carman-Ainsworth High School (1991 57 feet 6 inches (17.53 m); 1992 59 feet 5 inches (18.11 m)). He was a 1992 Detroit News second team All-State basketball center. He was recruited by Michigan State men's basketball, though he declined in order to play football. He chose to play for the Michigan Wolverines football team where he was an All-Big Ten Conference selection for the 1995 Wolverines.
Runyan was drafted in the fourth round (109th overall) of the 1996 NFL Draft by the Houston Oilers (now the Tennessee Titans). He played with the Houston Oilers in 1996 and became a starter in only the sixth game of his rookie season. He moved with the team as they became the Tennessee Oilers in 1997 and 1998, and finally played one year in the new jerseys as the Tennessee Titans in 1999 when the team made it to Super Bowl XXXIV. Runyan was the last active player in the NFL to have played for the Houston Oilers.
Runyan was signed by the Philadelphia Eagles to a six-year, $30 million contract on February 14, 2000 as an unrestricted free agent.
The contract made him the highest paid offensive lineman in NFL history at the time. Runyan was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2002.
On March 24, 2006, the Eagles announced that Runyan had re-signed with the team with a three-year contract. He had visited with the New York Jets on March 21 prior to re-signing with the Eagles.
In a Sports Illustrated magazine in October 2006, Runyan was ranked second on a list of the Dirtiest Players in the NFL. Bills linebacker Shawne Merriman stated that Runyan "was one of the dirtiest players I've ever been against in my whole entire life. He was real good at being dirty". Runyan did not deny the charges, criticizing the current game instead: "That's the way the game's supposed to be played. I think they’ve tried to change that over the years. It's turned into a basketball game out there."
In a 2007 game against the Dallas Cowboys, Runyan instructed Eagles running back Brian Westbrook to take a knee at the one-yard line rather than score a touchdown with two minutes left in the game so that Dallas would not get the ball back. Westbrook followed Runyan's direction, the play worked, and Philadelphia won the game.
A 2008 poll revealed that getting blocked by Runyan on a screen pass was one of the scariest things in the NFL.
Runyan held the remarkable streak for an offensive lineman of having started 190 consecutive regular season games. This was the second longest streak among active NFL players in 2008.
He has also started in all 18 playoff games his teams have appeared in during this streak.
On January 28, 2009, Runyan had microfacture surgery on his right knee. In February 2009, Runyan's contract expired with the team. He worked out for the Eagles on September 10, but did not sign a contract.
Runyan won the seat against Democratic incumbent John Adler for New Jersey's 3rd congressional district. Libertarian nominee Russ Conger and Your Country Again nominee Lawrence J. Donahue were also running.
In November 2009 published reports indicated Runyan was interested in running. On November 24, 2009, Runyan announced his congressional bid. On March 7, 2010, the Ocean County Republicans endorsed Runyan. On June 8, Runyan won the Republican nomination. On November 2, 2010, Runyan defeated Adler to win New Jersey's 3rd District Congressional Seat; Runyan won 50% of the vote to Adler's 47%. He is the fourth NFL player to be elected to Congress, after Jack Kemp, Steve Largent, and Heath Shuler.
Runyan has three children with his wife, Loretta; they reside in Mount Laurel Township, New Jersey.
Runyan has taken a course in entrepreneurship from the Wharton School.
Runyan appeared as a construction worker alongside other Philadelphia Eagles in the Season 4 episode "America's Next Top Paddy's Billboard Model Contest" of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
December 13th, 2011