Commanders

'That's big bro': Young is thankful for Kerrigan's influence

Commanders

There's a very good chance that, among many other things, the Washington Football Team's 2020 season will be about the end of one phenomenal pass rusher's career with the organization and the beginning of another's.

Ryan Kerrigan was able to set the franchise's all-time sack record in the opener against Philly, but as the schedule progressed, his role faded. And in his end-of-year presser on Sunday, the unrestricted free agent told reporters that he'd like to be a starter in 2021, which isn't going to happen in Burgundy and Gold.

Chase Young, meanwhile, proved that every scouting report and every superlative about him were correct in a sterling rookie campaign. He was a beast on the field and an immediate leader off of it, and he'll be a pillar that Ron Rivera builds upon for the future.

Now, Young — along with Montez Sweat — is also the reason that Kerrigan no longer has a real role with the team he's been with for almost a decade. His addition pretty much makes Kerrigan a pending subtraction.

Despite that, as Young explained in his own session with the media, Kerrigan was a gracious mentor as soon as Young came aboard.

"RK didn’t have to open his arms to me and help me throughout the whole season," No. 99 said. "You hear them stories where that doesn’t happen all the time. I always thank RK for doing that and always thank him for the type of man that he is."

 

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As far as production and durability and example-setting goes, Young couldn't have landed with a better veteran to learn from. 

As any Washington fan knows, this club has been defined by drama and inconsistencies for far too long now. Kerrigan, though, was always steady and always put up numbers. In a period of problems, he never was one. 

That's why, even at 32, he'll end up somewhere this March and undoubtedly make a defense better this fall. 

Assuming that happens, Young will do what he can to make sure he and Kerrigan stay close, even if they're in different uniforms come Week 1. Their past few months together made a serious impression on the rising star.

"RK knows it’s all love," Young said. "We’re going to have this relationship forever. That’s big bro. I’ve got nothing but love for RK. He knows that."