Ryan Kerrigan says he joined the Eagles as a free agent for two main reasons.
Kerrigan, 32, was a guest on the latest episode of Takeoff with John Clark for his first interview with Philadelphia media since agreeing to terms with the Eagles earlier this week.
Why did Kerrigan join the Eagles?
1. He likes the scheme
2. He feels wanted here
“I just felt like this was the scheme defensively that I fit in the best of the teams that I was looking at,” Kerrigan said in the lengthy interview with NBC Sports Philadelphia. “And Coach (Jonathan) Gannon I think is a really bright young mind as a defensive coordinator and he’s a guy that I feel like I’m going to be able to learn a lot of ball from. I know he’s going to put myself and all the other guys in positions that we can be successful.”
When asked about what kind of scheme Gannon will run after Jim Schwartz used such an aggressive front for the last five years in Philly, Kerrigan said he expects the D-line to play what they get. If it's a run, play the run. If it's a pass, get after the quarterback.
Aside from his fit in the defense, Kerrigan said he felt wanted here. It was like the Eagles were recruiting him. Kerrigan joked that he felt like he was back in high school again as colleges circled. He was actually surprised the mutual interest became public.
“I’m fired up,” he said. “I’ve been talking to Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham a good amount. They were really gracious and reached out to me, even when I was just visiting the team and were encouraging me to come on board. That really meant a lot. That was honestly one of the big factors in coming to Philly, along with the defensive scheme, was just guys reaching out. The coaches were reaching out constantly and that really felt good. I really feel wanted there and I’m happy to be a part of it.”
In addition to players, Kerrigan said he received multiple phone calls from GM Howie Roseman, talked to head coach Nick Sirianni and even got texts from Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie. It all added up to Kerrigan's feeling very wanted in Philly.
Kerrigan will be 33 by the start of the 2021 season and this year will be his first with a team other than Washington, which drafted him in the first round out of Purdue back in 2011.
Last season, despite his production, Kerrigan saw his play time dip as Washington worked to get younger players on the field. Despite his age and his lack snaps last year, Kerrigan feels like he has more in the tank.
“I definitely feel like I still have something to bring,” he said. “I’m excited to be able to prove that this fall. I’m really looking forward to getting to Philadelphia, getting to work with the guys and hopefully making a lot of fans happy this fall.”
A lot of times, aging players (especially ones without rings) will try to glom on to a true championship contender. The Eagles went 4-11-1 last season, but Kerrigan “absolutely” thinks they can win this year.
“I think people are pretty quick to forget that the Eagles made the playoffs in three of the past four seasons and just won the Super Bowl a couple years back,” he said. “I don’t think anybody knows that better than me having played the Eagles all those times. People that want to write off the Eagles, I don’t think they’re on top of it like that should be.”
In addition to his reasons for coming to Philly, Kerrigan talked about Eagles fans, Sirianni’s energy and a special guest dropped by to talk about their previous battles now that they’re teammates.
Check out the full interview with Kerrigan here: