After 10 years as a franchise cornerstone for the Washington Football Team, Ryan Kerrigan departed the nation's capital to sign with one of the team's biggest rivals, the Philadelphia Eagles, a move that left many fans conflicted.
Kerrigan will always be a legend in Washington. He's the franchise's all-time sack leader, was extremely durable during his time with the club and reliably performed on a weekly basis during an era that didn't feature much winning.
But, Philadelphia? Really? A division rival?
Speaking with ESPN's John Keim on his podcast just hours after announcing he signed with Philadelphia, Kerrigan made it clear he wasn't looking for "revenge" on Washington by joining a squad that'll face the Burgundy and Gold twice next season.
"No. Not at all," Kerrigan said. "I'm not like, 'Oh, I got to get revenge.' Get revenge on Washington? The place that's been so good to me? No. That wasn't a thought at all."
As for the real reason why he chose to sign with the Eagles, Kerrigan specifically cited the defense Philadelphia runs and the opportunity he believes he'll have under new coordinator Jonathan Gannon.
"I know whether I'm a starter or not in Philly -- look, they've got Derek Barnett and Brandon Graham, guys in the trench there that are bonafide studs in the league -- I do know they like to rotate their guys a lot. They play a lot," Kerrigan said. "So, whether I'm a starter or a reserve, I imagine I'm still going to get a lot of playing time. That was a big thing for me."
This should come as no surprise, especially considering that Kerrigan made it clear he wanted to play more in 2021 than he did last fall. In 2020, Kerrigan played a career-low in snaps and started just one game.
With Chase Young and Montez Sweat manning the edge for Washington for the foreseeable future, Kerrigan knew that he wouldn't be a starter if he came back, barring injury.
While Kerrigan made it clear he's not bitter towards the only organization he's ever played for, the soon-to-be 33-year-old understands why Washington fans might be upset he's joining an NFC East foe.
"I get it from the fans' standpoint. Because the passion the fans have for football, it works both ways. That's what makes football and sports so great is that fans care so much," Kerrigan said.
"When things are going well and you're making plays for that team, the fans' passion rubs off in a good way," Kerrigan continued. "Conversely, if you join a team they don't like, a team in the division, that team can rub off in a bad way. But I think that passion is what makes sports so great because people care so much."
So, while Kerrigan understands Washington fans might be a bit upset with him right now, that doesn't change how he feels about the fanbase that cheered him on for 10 years straight.
"Even know I might be on the not-so-good end right of that passion now with fans in Washington, that doesn't change how I feel about them because they've been so good to me over the years," Kerrigan said. "For a decade I got to play in front of them and be on the good end of their passion. I'll always have love for Washington, the fans and everyone."