With Brian Orakpo’s departure, Ryan Kerrigan is now the longest tenured outside linebacker on the Redskins’ roster.
He’s also the unit’s most productive player and, by far, its highest paid.
What that all means is Kerrigan's list of responsibilities has grown to include a new title: leader.
“I’m kind of the elder statesman in the room now—as weird as that is to say,” said Kerrigan, who turns 27 in August and is negotiating a lucrative, long term extension with the team. “It’s kind of my role now to be that guy.”
“It was kind of fun being in that role as a senior at Purdue, with all the young guys we had,” he added. “So I think it will be good to be in that role.”
The inside linebacker corps currently includes second round draft pick Preston Smith, Trent Murphy, who made eight starts as a rookie last season, and young reserves Jackson Jeffcoat and Trevardo Williams.
Kerrigan isn’t naturally outspoken on the field or in the meeting room. But he knows that the team now needs him to speak up more often, and so he says he will.
“Just going off of what I’ve seen early in the offseason, I think it will come out a little more naturally than I would expect,” he said. “You just look around and you realize you’re the guy that’s been here the longest and you kind of got to show ‘em the ropes a little bit.”
Kerrigan added: “It’s trying to not keep my mouth shut as much. Before, in my first couple years, we’d be working out and you’d see a guy maybe not doing something right or he needs just a little bit of coaching, I might keep my mouth shut. But nowadays, I’d want to help the guy along and say, ‘Hey, use this footwork. Use this kind of move. Do this with your hands.’ It’ll just be little things like that, I think.”
Asked jokingly if his role in Sharknado 3 will give him more credibility in team meetings, Kerrigan cracked: “You’ve got a movie star in the linebacker room. I don’t know how you don’t take my coaching.”