Ryan Kerrigan continued to refer to the Washington facility by its previous name despite the fact that he was wearing a shirt with the Commanders’ new emblem on it.
There were other echoes of the not too distant past besides that one. Punter Tress Way, who has been with the organisation the longest, was reminded of the times when Kerrigan would flex after making a sack when Washington was still known as the Redskins when he saw his former teammate at the Commanders training camp. The chapter for a franchise striving to reclaim long-lost grandeur is closed with Kerrigan’s retirement in the familiar burgundy and gold colours. Kerrigan was the final star player under the previous name.
At his retirement press conference on Saturday, Kerrigan stated, “It’s a new age of football here in Washington, and I’m hoping it means a lot of wins in the future, some playoff wins — something that I sadly didn’t get to experience here.” “I just hope that signifies good things going forward for the squad and good things for the guys in the locker room,” the player said.
Since the final game Kerrigan and his teammates played under the previous moniker on December 29, 2019, that locker room has undergone major transformation. A result of Ron Rivera’s roster revamp since taking over as coach and head of football operations on January 1, 2020, only 11 of the 91 players at camp had experience playing with the Washington Redskins.
As much as anything else, Kerrigan, who spent the previous two years with what was known as the Washington Football Team and played one season for Rivera, is a link to the past of the company.
Chase Roullier on Kerrigan’s retirement
Chase Roullier, a centre who has played in Washington under all three names, said, “Obviously, Ryan spent most of his time here under the old name, but I think us Honoring him as the Commanders just carries on the legacy of that name and our team as a whole and demonstrates that, regardless of the change in name, we are still the same group of guys.” “There have been many cultural and other changes, but we are still able to commemorate Ryan as such a significant contributor to this franchise and what he has done for us.
Although pass-rushers Montez Sweat and Chase Young replaced Kerrigan after he left for one final season with Philadelphia, Kerrigan remains Washington’s all-time leader in sacks. Together, they were a part of the NFL’s second-ranked defence two seasons ago when the team advanced to the playoffs and won the NFC East.
Since then, several important parts have changed, notably the quarterback, Carson Wentz, and Kerrigan’s message to the club was upbeat about its future.
What’s really interesting is that Kerrigan comes out for one day and talks to us about what he sees in the locker room, the facility, and on the field and he uses the word “momentum,” Way said. “Even if he’s one of my closest friends, I would still make the same argument. You can just sense a certain momentum, so it just depends on how well we play, how many games we win, and how long that momentum lasts.
Since being appointed coach before the pandemic and the summer of 2020, when a national reckoning on racism in the U.S. prompted the team to drop the old name amid pressure from sponsors and after decades of criticism from Native American groups, Rivera has been charged with carrying out that mission.
Kerrigan likes the new moniker, for what it’s worth. As one of the last truly great Redskins players, he is also honoured by this reputation. “I know this team means a lot to a lot of people. It’s one of the oldest teams, one of the older franchises in the league, and it had a lot of great players come through,” said Kerrigan. “I truly like it.”