Kirk Cousins: ‘I absolutely want to play’

ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 15:   Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins (12) stands in the pocket looking for a receiver during second quarter action against the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome on December, 15, 2013 in Atlanta, GA. (Photo by Jonathan Newton / The Washington Post)

(Jonathan Newton / The Washington Post)

How many times do you think Kirk Cousins could talk about his mildly stated interest to compete for an NFL starting quarterback role and still have it seem mildly newsworthy?

I think a lot. Probably eight or 10, realistically. Sure, Cousins isn’t the one calling up radio shows and asking if he can talk about his mildly stated interest to compete for an NFL starting quarterback role. But he plays the most important position for the most important team in town, and he insists that he merely wants to be proactive and honest in this situation, and he says that he loves the Redskins organization and would be happy to stay in Washington, and yet he keeps talking about how he wants to compete for an NFL starting quarterback role, which is mildly newsworthy.

“I think it’s a win-win for me, because I really do love it here,” Cousins said on 106.7 The Fan’s Grant and Danny show recently. “I love this city, I love the fan base, the tradition of our organization. I love the people in our organization, my teammates. I’ve really come to love it here; I’m very comfortable here in D.C. So If someone were to say, ‘You’re gonna be here for a year or two more years’ — or even longer than that — I really don’t have any worries about that.

“That being said, from the day I was drafted, all I’ve really wanted is the chance to compete to be a starting quarterback,” Cousins went on. “I think that’s what all of us ask for, in whatever profession we have, we want a chance to show what we can do. You [Grant Paulsen] want a chance to see what you can do on a radio show. I think you do a great job, but I only know that because I’ve seen you do it, I’ve listened to you, I can see the work you do. So from where I’m sitting, I just want that chance.

“And because of the situation I was drafted into in D.C., that obviously isn’t in the cards for me,” Cousins said. “And so my attitude all along has been, if someone wants to give me that opportunity to have that chance to compete, I’d love to go somewhere. But right now in D.C. if I stay, my job is to be a great backup and hopefully one day become a starter.”

Danny Rouhier then said he thinks that’s all a sensible stance.

“This isn’t rocket science,” Cousins said. “If there’s any NFL quarterback who doesn’t want what I just communicated, I would seriously question — as a fan base or as an organization — what good he’s doing for your team. Now that being said, I’m gonna communicate my desire to play in a classy way. I don’t want to do it in a way that’s gonna hurt our organization or reflect poorly on me or the team. But yeah, I absolutely want to play, and that’s not a complicated fact. But we’ll see what happens. We’ll see what’s in the cards. And if I’m not good enough, I’ve got to accept that, but all I’m looking for is that chance.”

I mean, I agree, this isn’t complicated, or surprising, for him to feel that way. And yet if 31 other backup quarterbacks have made similar statements this offseason, I’ve missed them. Chandler Harnish? I dunno. Maybe.

“I really don’t think I’m playing from a position of power in this matter,” Cousins said, when asked if he’s communicated his wishes to Skins management. “I’ve signed a four-year contract and I want to honor that contract, so I’m not going to demand anything. You know, I’m grateful for the opportunity to play in the NFL. I feel like I’m living the dream. So no, I’m not going to demand anything. That’s not my thought process. I did want to be proactive and communicate where I’m coming from, and not just sit back and assume that people knew the way I felt. So I wanted to communicate it, go to the right people, tell them how I feel, and then those decision-makers can make the decisions they want to make. And I do take it as a compliment if they don’t have any interest in trading me. Then maybe that means they see me as a valuable person who can help this team, and in that sense, I’ll take it as a compliment.”

Cousins, I will say, understands perfectly why a Web scribe might feel compelled to cover eight or 10 different radio appearances by the same man about the same topic.

“The further I go in the football world, the more I realize that when it comes to media coverage, the greatest amount of attention and coverage is gonna be on controversial issues,” he said. “Any time someone is not happy or there’s controversy, that’s what brings microphones to the situation, that’s what brings interest, that’s what creates viewership. Even as a professional athlete myself, when I see controversy on the television or on the radio, I tune in, and that’s just human nature. So from that perspective, any time you have anything that carries a little bit of controversy, there’s gonna be greater interest, and I think my situation has that taste to it…and so that’s part of playing professional sports.”

(First transcribed by Chris Lingebach)

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