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May 9, 2014

Kerrigan 'excited' to be part of Redskins' future

With a new head coach and some key offseason moves, including Washington picking up his own fifth-year option, Ryan Kerrigan is excited about his fourth NFL season with the Redskins.

The former Boilermaker defensive end, back in West Lafayette for the fifth-annual 12th Boiler Golf Outing, recently had his career extended with the franchise through 2015. Kerrigan wasn't necessarily surprised by the move - his agent had told him to expect the Redskins to exercise the option in the outside linebacker's contract - but he's pleased to know his immediate future is secure.

"Very happy about it. I've really grown to like the Washington area, and I think our organization is definitely committed to winning," Kerrigan said about an hour before teeing off on the Ackerman Hills course. "You could see that through a lot of the acquisitions we've made through the offseason with (Jason) Hatcher, DeSean Jackson and Andre Roberts, guys like that, so I'm excited to be part of it.

"That's the biggest thing for me is that it's a vote of confidence from the organization that they want me to be part of the plans going forward because we have a very talented team and a roster that definitely should be a playoff team. There's no reason why we shouldn't be, so it's cool to know that they have confidence in me going forward."

Kerrigan played nearly the entire season in 2013 with a torn meniscus in his knee, an injury that required arthroscopic surgery at the end of the year. But he still was productive, getting 8.5 sacks and forcing four fumbles while still playing about 95 percent of the team's snaps.

In his first two seasons with the organization, Kerrigan played all but about 10 snaps and was a Pro Bowler in 2012.

His performance is even more impressive considering he's done it at linebacker - he'd been a defensive end since fifth grade, he said, including becoming an All-American end for the Boilermakers as a senior.

"I feel like I fit the defensive scheme well," he said of the Redskins' 3-4 look. "Coach (Jim) Haslett really believes in me and having him back for my fourth season and having another year in the system is exciting to me. It's a defense that allows me to be versatile and really do a lot of different things across the line of scrimmage and even off the ball a little bit now, which I never thought I'd be saying that. It's a good fit for me."

Kerrigan has recovered from the knee surgery - he participated fully in the team's mini-camp last week - and is eager to adjust to a potential new role in 2014.

"More will be expected from me from a leadership standpoint this year, especially with London Fletcher having retired in the linebacking corps," he said. "But that's a challenge I'll be willing to accept."

Kerrigan on why he came back for the golf outing: "Purdue's obviously something that is very dear to my heart, very close to me so any time I can come back and not only get back to campus but in a way that's helping the university and helping the football program, it's something I'm excited about."

Kerrigan on golf: "I've been playing all spring getting ready for it. So hopefully I can show well.
(Crushing the ball is) the expectation, but that's not always how it works out. I'll hit it far, but the direction is always the problem."

Kerrigan on Purdue senior defensive end Ryan Russell: "I'm excited to see what he can do this year. He has a chance to be a really productive, really dominant player in this league. He has the body for it, and he has the football IQ. I just want to see him be able to put it together on the field and be the productive player he can be. We all know he can be - look at the guy. He's huge and really athletic. I think he can be a really good player."

Kerrigan on Purdue's second-year coaching staff: "I was here for National Signing Day and got to spend a lot of time with the coaching staff. I'm really impressed with them. They have a lot of great excitement for the school, for the university, for the program, and I think that'd be a great selling point if I were a recruit coming out."

Kerrigan on potentially providing student-athletes with a stipend: "I can't speak for everyone. I come from a family where my parents, I didn't ask for much, but if I ever needed anything, they were willing to help me out. I know all family situations aren't like. So I can understand both ends of the spectrum. The scholarship check was plenty for me."

Kerrigan on the NCAA supplying unlimited meals and snacks: "I thought it was already unlimited. I'd just grab things, stuff them in my backpack and take them back to the apartment."

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