Kerrigan’s retirement ends an era for Washington football | Sport

ASHBURN, Va. (AP) — Ryan Kerrigan still called the Washington facility his old nameeven though he was wearing a shirt with the franchise’s new rebranding logo in Commanders.

It was not the only reminder of the old days, which were not so long ago.

Seeing his old teammate in the Commanders training camp brought back Tres Way, the organization’s longest-tenured player, in the days when Kerrigan was flexing after being fired when Washington was known as redskins. Kerrigan was the last great player under the old name, and his retirement in familiar maroon and gold marks the end of that chapter for a franchise trying to recapture long-lost glory.

“It’s a new era of football here in Washington, and I hope that means a lot of wins in the future, some playoff wins, which I unfortunately didn’t experience here,” Kerrigan said in a news conference after retirement. saturday “I just hope it’s good for the team moving forward and for the guys in the locker room.”

This locker room has changed significantly since the last game Kerrigan and his teammates played under the old name on Dec. 29, 2019. Only 11 of the 91 players in camp played when Washington was the Redskins, the product of Ron Rivera’s overhaul since taking over as coach and head of football operations for the New Year 2020.

Kerrigan, who played one season for Rivera with the so-called Washington on football the last two years, like everything else, is a reference to the organization’s past.

“Obviously Ryan spent most of his time here under the old name, but us honoring him as captains, I think, just continues the legacy of that name and our team as a whole and just shows that we’re still the same group of guys. , whether the name changed or not,” said center Chase Roullier, one of those who played under all three names in Washington. “There’s a lot of cultural change, a lot of things that have changed, but we can still appreciate Ryan as an important part of this franchise and what he’s done for us.”

Kerrigan is Washington’s career leader, albeit his leaving for his final season with Philadelphia also yielded to pass rushers Montez Sweet and Chase Young. Together, they were part of a defense two seasons ago that finished second in the NFL en route to winning the NFC East and making the playoffs.

Several key parts have changed since then, including Carson Wentz at quarterback, and Kerrigan’s message to the team was optimistic about its direction.

“What’s really cool is for Kerrigan to come out one day and talk about what he sees with just us and in the locker room, in the building, on the field, and he said the word ‘momentum,'” Way said. “I’m quite biased because he’s one of my best friends, but I’d argue the same. You just feel some momentum, so it’s just a matter of whether we can execute and win some games and keep it going.”

That’s what was put before Rivera after he was appointed coach before the pandemic and in the summer of 2020, when a national reckoning over racism in the US forced the team to abandon its old name under pressure from sponsors and after decades of criticism from Native American groups.

For what it’s worth, Kerrigan is a fan of the new name. He also takes pride in being known as one of the last great Redskins players.

“I know this team means a lot to a lot of people, and it’s one of the older teams, one of the older franchises in the league, they’ve gone through a lot of great players,” Kerrigan said. “It’s really cool.”

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