No matter if Ryan Kerrigan signed with divisional rival Philadelphia or not, his connection to his home of the last decade can't be questioned.
"Ten years here, I grew up here. From 22 to 32 with two kids, a lot has changed," Kerrigan said on the Grant and Danny Show on 106.7 The Fan. "When I got drafted I didn’t know what to expect, so for things to work out as the way they have is incredible. I loved living there in the DMV. That's what made it so special being drafted there and having success on the football field there. I felt a genuine connection to the place because I loved living there."
To go from a kid out of Purdue to a man with a family, Kerrigan's never lost his competitive drive and wants to bring that to the Eagles. More playing time was always the thing he was looking for, and he said despite some headlines saying there were discussions with Washington during free agency, coach Ron Rivera and owner Dan Snyder told him on the first day of free agency that they'd be going in a different direction.
Kerrigan said revenge played no role in his move to the Eagles, but instead the fact they historically rotate into their bench was more appealing.
"It was my first time being a free agent, this was a strange process," Kerrigan said, "but this was the best fit for me as a football player."
Kerrigan leaves behind an accomplished 10 years as Washington's all-time franchise sacks leader, a record he broke in September with a sack against Carson Wentz and the Eagles. Kerrigan finished with 95.5 sacks (the fourth-most since Washington drafted him with the 16th pick in the 2011 NFL Draft), 330 solo tackles, and one lasting impact on the community.
"Since I started getting close (to setting the franchise sacks record) it started feeling surreal and crazy to me because when I got drafted I didn't know what to expect," Kerrigan said. "Just because I was transitioning from a defensive end in college to the pros but from a defensive end to a standup outside backer, so I really didn't know what to expect personally for myself going into the NFL. So for things to have worked out the way they have is unbelievable. I feel so incredibly lucky to have the productivity there, not only that but to get drafted in a place I really loved living in. That's the best part."
Kerrigan noted how some guys will live in their team's market in-season, but leave on the first Monday of the offseason. Not him. Kerrigan gave back to the community and he loved being a part of.
With some amazing charity work locally, such as the Ryan Kerrigan Leukemia Golf Classic with his involvement with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, to his "Kerrigan's Korner" and the countless hours he spent with children at area hospitals, Kerrigan was truly a man of the people and a fan favorite.
"The relationships that you build with the patients, but everyone involved," Kerrigan said. "That's what I'll take with me...That's what has made these 10 years so meaningful."