A tipped-ball interception returned for a touchdown against Eli Manning. That is not a bad way for a rookie to begin his career in the NFL.
That is exactly how Ryan Kerrigan introduced himself to Washington.
The Washington Football Team used the 16th pick in the 2011 NFL Draft on Kerrigan, a defensive end out of Purdue. Now, 156 games and 95.5 sacks later, the WFT will prepare to enter a season without Kerrigan for the first time in a decade.
Over the first eight years of his career, Kerrigan started all 16 games in each year. He played 12 games in 2019 and appeared in all 16 last season but made just one start. There was a sense that Kerrigan had played his final game with Washington after they were beaten by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the 2020 Wild Card Round.
Kerrigan ended up staying in division and signing a one-year deal with the Philadelphia Eagles. It is no surprise that Kerrigan decided to leave D.C. but it is a tough pill to swallow for fans that he is not with a division rival.
With that being said, what will this loss mean to the WFT?
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The front four of Washington is extremely strong and this forced Kerrigan into a backup role in 2020. Chase Young joined Montez Sweat on the edge and completely took over in year one on his way to the Defensive Rookie of the Year award. Young and Sweat are a duo that the WFT can have on the edges for a long time, along with Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne in the middle.
Kerrigan has been a voice on and off the field for Washington for a long time. He has helped mentor the next generation of players and that is something that Young has backed up.
"RK didn't have to open his arms to me and help me throughout the whole season," Young said back in January. "You hear them stories where that doesn't happen all the time. I always thank RK for doing that and always thank him for the type of man that he is. ... We're going to have this relationship forever. That's big bro. I've got nothing but love for RK."
The loss of Kerrigan will impact depth on the edge but Washington is more than setup in a position to succeed along the defensive line. The WFT will miss Kerrigan's voice and presence in the locker room. He has stuck by this team through some disastrous years and has always been a leader.
The look of Kerrigan in an Eagles' uniform is going to take some time to get used to. He has showed that there is still something left in the tank and Philadelphia can take advantage right away.
The Eagles visit FedExField on Jan. 2 during Week 17 of the season. No matter the current state of the two teams, Kerrigan will get a warm welcome and a heck of a tribute from the WFT and their fans.
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