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Things Won't Be The Same Without Ryan Kerrigan

My NFL fandom hasn't consisted of much success.

From the days I could comprehend the sport, I was a Washington Redskins fan. Everyone on my dad’s side of the family was a Redskins fan and my dad and I were the two strongest fans in the family. We would watch every game, follow the team through the offseason and when we could, we’d make the trek to Fedex Field to watch the team in person.

No, the team wasn’t very good. In fact, the Redskins made the playoffs just five times after 1994, the year I was born. I was fortunate enough to get to see one of those games in person — a 27-13 Wild Card round win vs. the Lions in 1999.

Despite all the losing — and there was a lot of it — I miss it deeply. Things just aren’t the same anymore. And when it came to light that longtime Redskin Ryan Kerrigan was signing with the Philadelphia Eagles for the 2021 season, that felt like the nail in the coffin.

Kerrigan was one of my last deep connections to the franchise. Drafted in 2011, Kerrigan became one of the most feared and reliable pass rushers in the NFL. He registered 95.5 sacks in his career in Washington and from 2011 to 2020, Kerrigan missed just four games. Before 2019, Kerrigan hadn’t missed a single game in his NFL career.

His dependability and productivity made him a fan favorite. As bad as the team was and as tumultuous as the team leadership had become, Kerrigan was the steadying force through it all. I counted on him, just like every Redskins fan.

No one can fault Kerrigan one bit for leaving. He’s still a productive pass rusher at 33 years old and he wants more snaps, something the Washington Football Team cannot provide. The franchise spent two first-round picks in two years on pass rushers, all but sealing Kerrigan’s eventual fate.

I didn’t watch a ton of NFL games last season like I had before. I probably won’t watch much again in 2021. But whenever I turn on an Eagles game, it will be hard watching Kerrigan suited up in green and black. I never thought it would happen.

So the two times that the Eagles play the Team this coming season, I know who I’ll be rooting for. It’ll be Kerrigan, who has more than earned my loyalty as a fan.

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Friday, 02 June 2023

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