Kirk Cousins’s emotional speech at the Rose Bowl pep rally (video)

January 2

(John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

Kirk Cousins has proven over and over that he’s pretty smooth with a mic in his hand. This week he got a chance to wow a crowd again at the Michigan State pep rally in Los Angeles in advance of the Rose Bowl.

If this NFL thing doesn’t work out, Cousins can certainly find a career as a motivational speaker. Or pep rally pepper. Or wedding speech giver-for-hire.

Here’s a full transcription if you can’t watch the video wherever you happen to be.

“To the marching band, I gotta say this. I’ll be quick, but to the marching band, I got an 86-year old grandfather who’s not doing real well right now. I remember going to college football games at his alma mater, another Big Ten school when I was growing up, and when the marching band would stand up to play the fight song, a tear would come to his eye. And I remember thinking that was a little weird, even when I was at Michigan State I thought that was a little weird. But now two years removed, I hear the fight song play and I start to get a little shiver. And it starts to bring back a lot of memories, a lot of emotion. And football is a game of emotion.

“And I can remember, I’ll take you back to 2011 playing at Northwestern on Thanksgiving weekend, 40 degrees in driving rain. And the game didn’t mean a lot because we were going to the championship game the next weekend win or lose. And I remember scoring a touchdown late in the game to secure the victory. And as I ran off the field I could see the green and white had taken over the stadium and outnumbered the purple. On Thanksgiving weekend in the driving rain, on a day that didn’t mean much, that’s when I started to realize how special it was to be a Spartan. And I felt that emotion as I ran off the field after throwing a touchdown pass to BJ Cunningham, I remember feeling that emotion, that emotion that carried over into next week, carried over into my last game against Georgia.

“And tomorrow, football is a game of emotion like I said, and tomorrow when those men walk onto that field and they see that 75 percent of the Rose Bowl is green and white, you don’t even understand the emotion that’s going to well up inside of them and the pride that they’re going to play with when they look around that stadium and realize that 75 percent of it is green and white.

“And finally I just want to say, when I gave my Big Ten luncheon speech a couple of years ago, I said that I wanted to make it a goal that wherever the Spartan nation went, when my name got brought up they would say that, ‘He’s one of us.’ And they’d be proud to say that, ‘He’s one of ours.’ And I want to thank Coach and I want to say to Mark Hollis that when I stayed in a hotel with the Redskins before playing the Cowboys and the Giants, and I turn on the Michigan State game, and the TV’s on and I’m sitting around with a bunch of football players, I’m sitting around with Mike Shanahan, a Super Bowl coach, I’m sitting around with the owner of the team, I sit at that table, I watch the starters and I say, ‘I’m one of them.’

“I hope I accomplish something in my NFL career, so that you continue to watch me and say, ‘He’s one of us.’ But know that if I go forward, I say back: ‘I’m one of yours, Coach. I’m one of them.’ “

Here’s the video. Cousins comes in at the 5:20 mark.

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