Q&A: Washington Redskins’ Ryan Kerrigan

by Erica Moody

The star linebacker talks football, philanthropy and life in Reston. 

Kerrigan hands out ice cream to fans outside the Ronald Reagan Building

Kerrigan hands out ice cream to fans outside the Ronald Reagan Building

With only one preseason game left, Redskins fans can taste that the regular season is upon them. Here’s something to satisy them until opening night.

Although he’s on a strict diet that doesn’t allow for many treats, linebacker Ryan Kerrigan didn’t let that stop him from signing up to be D.C.’s honorary ‘Good Humor Man.’ We caught up with last year’s Walter Payton Man of the Year before he passed out ice cream to fans the day before training camp started.

Washington Life: Are there any insights you can tell us about what to expect this season?
Ryan Kerrigan: Only time will tell. Everyone says ‘you guys will be great, you guys will be great’ but we really won’t know until September 12 when we kick off against the Steelers. I think we have the pieces to be a very good team, a team that everyone will reckon with, but it’s all about good men on the field.

WL: If you ended up winning the Super Bowl, who’s the first person you’d call?
RK: I’d be looking for my family and my girlfriend. I’d just want to hug them and spend some time with them.

WL: How has being a Redskin changed since you started with the team six years ago?
RK: It’s weird to think I’m now one of the veterans, because I was always the young guy, you know? I’m not the young guy anymore. I guess it’s just like how I would imagine any job. You grow and you get more mature as you get out of college, and you’re not the same person you were as a 22-year-old college kid as far as a 28-year-old working professional. I think that’s for most individuals, not just football players. I think I’m more mature, and I’ve grown up a little bit, but still the same.

WL: Let’s talk about your charity work. Any big events coming up with your Blitz for the Better Foundation?
RK: Yeah in late September, we have our annual Celebrity Waiter Night where my teammates and I are waiters and serve dinner. It’s a lot of fun, and that’s always our biggest event. It’s how we generate most of our funds to help the youth of D.C. And then in the holiday months we’ll have a present giveaway for kids, and we’ll have a night at Redskins Park like we had last year where kids can come and spend some time with each other and get away from the hospital center.

WL: You’re clearly passionate about helping kids. Is there a personal story behind that?
RK: Yes, helping special needs children and physically challenged children has always been a passion of mine. When you start having a positive impact on these children, it really means a lot to them. My cousin is autistic and I saw firsthand how challenging it can be, not only for him but for the family growing up. So, he definitely inspired me to want to start a foundation. I also went to high school with a couple autistic people who kind of formed my passion.

WL: Do you have any role models that you look up to or players that you consider to be role models?
RK: I have a couple of teammates who I really look up to like Kedric Golston. I just really enjoy how he carries himself as a player and a person. He’s a really good father and husband. He’s just a good man. And Lorenzo Alexander. He doesn’t play with the Redskins anymore, but he was someone else I looked up to as someone who did things the right way- on and off the field.

WL: Why did you choose to live in Reston?
RK: Because I love the Reston Town Center. I love having everything in walking distance. I love most parts of Northern Virginia. I don’t want to be too far away from the practice facility, especially with traffic and what-not. I love Arlington. I love D.C., but it would be too much of a drive each day to get to Redskins park, especially with traffic. I-66 is the worst road of all time. So, I chose Reston because it’s not to far from Arlington and D.C., but also really close to the practice facility.

WL: Any spots that you like to go in D.C. or Reston? Restaurants?
RK: In Reston, I love The Counter. It’s always been a good burger spot. Bartaco, too, that’s a good one. In D.C. I love Filomena in Georgetown, and Tony & Joe’s. I love the scenery. It’s right on the water. I always enjoy that.

WL: What do you like to do in your downtime?
RK: I’m pretty low-key. I go out a little bit in the off-season, but during the season I don’t really see the light of day other than practice. But, I like to go out with friends and I play a lot of golf.

WL: Are there any bars that you like to go to?
RK: It’s been so long, I can’t even think of one. World of Beer in Reston is a fun time. I was a fan of Carpool in Arlington before it closed down. It’s really fun and relaxed. They had pool and darts and stuff like that. It was a good spot.

WL: Do you hang out with your teammates when you’re not playing?
RK: I do, especially this past season. We had a really good group of guys. We were all, not just teammates, but really good friends so it made last season really fun.

WL: Did you do anything fun this summer?
RK: I spent a lot of the summer out west in California with my girlfriend. That was a lot of fun. We traveled a little bit, and went to a few different cities. And my sister got married. That was probably the highlight of the summer.

WL: Do fans come up to you all the time? Is it strange?
RK: A little bit. It’s happening a little more, since I’ve been in the area a little longer. It’s really cool because I’m glad that fans are ok with approaching me and that I’m approachable. It feels good that they see me as one of them, a Washingtonian.

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