Ryan Kerrigan calls retirement decision 'the right thing'

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Ryan Kerrigan calls retirement decision 'the right thing' originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

Football consumed Ryan Kerrigan so much that it constantly impacted what Ryan Kerrigan consumed.

Even on Friday nights well into the offseason and far away from Week 1, Kerrigan would angst over what to eat — much to the chagrin of his wife, Jessica. When he'd have his first meal in the morning, he'd often ask himself, "How will this breakfast help me?"

So, now that Kerrigan is done with the NFL, he's relieved to be freed of such rigidity.

"If I want a beer," Kerrigan said Saturday morning in a press conference celebrating the Washington football legend's retirement, "I'll have a beer."

Kerrigan's professional life spanned 11 seasons, with the first 10 happening with Washington. As he explained it, he was encouraged by doctors in the spring of 2021 to call it quits due to their concerns over the health of his left knee, but he wasn't "emotionally ready" to stop competing.

So, the pass rusher decided to suit up for one last campaign, which turned out to be with the Philadelphia Eagles, but throughout his time there he also knew it was his final run.

Despite the assuredness he feels in his decision — "It's hard to walk away even though I know it's the right thing," Kerrigan admitted — he got a sign recently that he made the correct call.

"The day I made the decision, I slept really well that night," Kerrigan said, labeling it an indicator from "the universe" that he'll be OK.

As Kerrigan scanned back through his favorite memories, he identified highlights such as the pick-6 of Eli Manning in his 2011 debut against the Giants, defeating the Cowboys in the last game of 2012 to clinch the NFC East and a 2018 strip-sack of Dallas' Dak Prescott that ended up as a Preston Smith touchdown.

However, he sounded more touched by returning to the franchise's Ashburn headquarters Friday where his retirement was made official. That's where he made so many strong relationships with his fellow teammates as well as the coaching staff, office personnel, cooks and more.

Now that he's on to a new phase — one that could include coaching and will absolutely feature plenty of family activities, for the father to three energetic kids — there aren't any other players who'll be known as Redskins. While Kerrigan approves of the organization's new name, he takes pride in the special place he occupies among the club's longtime supporters, too.

"I know this team means a lot to a lot of people," Kerrigan said. "So for people to think of me that way, it’s pretty damn cool."