Ryder puts controversy aside in return to Essendon

More than eight years after his bitter departure from Essendon, Paddy Ryder has returned to the Bombers as the club's new manager of Indigenous player development.

Ryder was one of 34 past and present Bombers players who was banned for the 2016 season after being part of Essendon's controversial 2012 supplements program.

The years of turmoil and uncertainty stemming from the doomed program took a toll on Ryder, who left the Bombers at the end of 2014 seeking a fresh start.

Ryder spent five seasons at Port Adelaide between 2015-19 before finishing his career at St Kilda with a three-season stint.

Just before his departure from Essendon, Ryder revealed the true extent of the mental toll of the supplements ordeal.

Given Ryder wasn't sure of what was put into his body during the program, his biggest concern was the health of his unborn son.

His son was later given a clean bill of health, and it seems Ryder has now forgiven Essendon for their sins of the past.

Ryder will work with Essendon's Indigenous and first-to-third-year players through the Jack Jones Academy, while also supporting various other community and development programs across the football club.

The 34-year-old, who is a Noongar man from Geraldton in Western Australia, said he was excited to work with the Bombers' Indigenous players.

Alwyn Davey Jr, Jayden Davey, Tex Wanganeen, Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti, and Anthony Munkara are among the Indigenous players on the list.

"I spent a big chunk of my career here and it's always been a big part of me, so I always knew one day I'd end up back here in some capacity," said Ryder, who played 170 games at the Bombers between 2006-2014.

"To come back to help our young Indigenous boys is something I'm really excited for and am really hoping to come in and make a big difference.

"I really love the direction that the club is heading in and it's super exciting for our players and members. I want to play my role in bringing these young boys through and giving them the best chance of playing AFL footy."