My next guest in the BurgundyBlog.com Summer Interview Series likely needs no introduction; you already know him as the baby-faced ball-buster we selected at #16 overall in the mega-hyped 2011 NFL Draft: Patrick Ryan Kerrigan.
I know. I can’t believe I got him either.
Ryan took a short break from practicing, studying, modeling, crushing holes-in-one, and generally dominating life to offer this magnificent peek into his glamorous life and eclectic personality.
So without further ado…
BB: Welcome to Burgundy Blog, Mr. Kerrigan! We are shocked, honored, and completely pumped to have you. In fact, please tell me one good reason why I shouldn’t pee my pants right now. I’m serious. That’s your first question.
RK: Well, like Billy Madison said, “You ain’t cool unless you pee your pants!” But I truly am honored to be a part of the Redskins family. The tradition there is unlike any other and I look forward to helping restore the winning tradition that comes with being a Redskin.
BB: Sorry, that was very unprofessional of me. Let’s get down to business. Please tell us—HONESTLY—how it felt be drafted by the Redskins. Were you hoping for any one or two team(s) in particular? Did you have any kind of intuition that you’d end up in DC? Was there anything special about your pre-draft visit with the ‘Skins?
RK: I was extremely pumped to be picked by the Redskins. I had a great couple of meetings with them, once at the Combine and then again during my visit prior to the Draft. I really enjoyed the time I spent with the coaching staff and Mr. Allen and I really thought I fit well into their defensive scheme. Not to mention the ‘Skins fan base… I’ve gotten a lot of love on my Twitter account ever since the Draft. It has really made me excited about being a part of the tradition.
BB: We’re a discriminating and intelligent fan base, so I’ll cut right to the chase: how and why are you going to succeed as a stand-up, 3-4 outside linebacker, when you spent most of your college career as a traditional end with your hand in the dirt? Will your pressure translate? And can you cover?
RK: I’ll succeed because I will work my butt off to make sure that I do. The transition is going to be tough. It’s going to be a long process of mastering the OLB position. There’s going to be ups and downs but I’m confident that I can make the switch. Also, I have Brian Orakpo to learn from. What better guy than a 2-time Pro Bowler to learn from in making the switch. I can’t wait to get to work with him and to see what it takes to be successful at this position.
BB: Just playing devil’s advocate there. I’m already a believer. Your combine numbers compared favorably to “freak athlete” Robert Quinn’s (plus you crushed him on the bench) and your work ethic is borderline legendary. If you had to pick only one thing, what is your defining characteristic as a football player?
RK: It would have to be my motor. If you watch the film, every play will look the same no matter what the score is in the game. I take pride in that. I want it to be known that I’m going to give my all every single play and that I’m someone my teammates can really on from whistle to whistle.
BB: You’re the Big Ten all-time leader in forced fumbles with 14. FOURTEEN!!! What’s the deal with that? Do you have a special technique? Do you try for it on every tackle?
RK: I do try for it almost all the time. For the most part, it’s just transfer of training from the practice field to the game field. We really emphasized stripping the football during practice at Purdue. We harped on it every day and practiced it relentlessly. You could really see the practice pay off for everyone on our defense.
BB: Identify one pro from past or present whose game most resembles yours, or someone you strive to emulate.
RK: Forgive me for saying this but I used to really like watching Michael Strahan play. As a defensive end he had the strength/finesse/power combo that you need. But since I’m a part of the ‘Skins now I won’t say players from any other NFC East teams. And since I’m a linebacker now, I’m going to try to model my game after Brian Orakpo. He made the same move I did from a 4-3 team to a 3-4 team and is a beast doing it. I hope I can incorporate aspects of his game in my own.
BB: Do you have a preferred nickname? I’ve heard “Superman” and “Tarzan.” Some people are referring to the Kerrigan/Orakpo tandem as “Kerrakpo!” Any strong feelings about that? I think we can do better. After seeing this picture, I kinda want to call you “Blue Steel.”
RK: Well that pose you see there is actually “Magnum,” not “Blue Steel.” I’d been working on it for months. What do you think of it? But I’ve heard many nicknames over the years. “Superman” kind of stuck with me for most of my career so that’d probably be the most common one. It’s not one I’d really claim though just because so many people already claim it (e.g. Dwight Howard, Shaq). The “Kerrakpo” nickname is really clever. I have a lot of work ahead of me though, before I can collaborate on a nickname with Orakpo.
BB: Speaking of Rak, what do you think of him so far? Do you have similar strengths, or are you completely different types of edge defender?
RK: We definitely have a lot of similarities. We’re both similar heights and weights and both have had to make the same transition to the NFL. Rak has been great so far. At the team workouts in Virginia, he was really helpful in explaining the nuances of the defense and also gave me pointers on my stance, pass rush moves, etc.
BB: You had a wavy, righteous mane at the combine, but a crew-cut at the Draft. What’s the plan for your rookie season?
RK: Of all the words I’ve heard to describe my locks, “righteous” might be the best one I’ve heard yet! I can’t decide about what I’m going to do yet but I’m leaning towards the short hair. Having long hair is a beautiful thing but you can only handle it for so long. I’ve heard the short hair look looks much cleaner too. My girlfriend’s aunt said it best a few days ago: “The long hair makes you look cute, but the short hair looks handsome.” So I think I’m going to go for the more mature look.
BB: Tell us something interesting about your non-football life. What’s your favorite hobby?
RK: I’m a sports junkie. I love playing any kind of sport; basketball, baseball, golf… whatever it is I usually enjoy doing it. I also really enjoy swimming. You could find me around the pool or at the lake more often than not during the summertime.
BB: What did you take away from the player-led mini-camps? Any good Xs-and-Os knowledge, or more just social familiarity with your new teammates?
RK: I learned a ton from those mini-camps. London Fletcher, Brian Orakpo, and Lorenzo Alexander really schooled me up during the workouts and really did a great job of explaining all of the defenses to me. I had been studying my playbook a lot but to actually have experienced players coaching me up was very helpful. It was nice to socialize with the guys too. Camaraderie is a huge aspect of a team so it was good to get the chemistry started with the guys.
BB: Is there anything else—anything at all—that you’d like to say to your millions of adoring new fans in Redskin Nation?
RK: I’d like to just thank Redskin Nation for all of the support I’ve already received. I couldn’t be more excited to be a part of this team and organization. I look forward to being a part of the community and interacting with the fans. I also can’t wait to get to work with the guys. Hail To The Redskins!!!!!!