Brendan and Anita Kerrigan are just like any other set of parents: they want the best for their kids, and as they started their second child, Ryan, out in youth sports, they always wanted to make sure he was in the ideal situation.
Kerrigan — who was formally introduced at Redskins Park Friday, a day after the team drafted him 16th overall — tried flag football at age 6, and then swam competitively . When he reached fifth grade, he tried full-contact football. His parents always checked in with Kerrigan’s coaches to make sure he was performing well and wasn’t in over his head.
“When he started out as a kid playing, and we’d ask the coaches how he was and they’d say, ‘He’s good,’ and we’d say, ‘Are you sure?’” Brendan Kerrigan recalls. “And then he got to high school and we’d ask and the coach would say, ‘He’s good.’ And again, we’d ask, ‘Are you sure?’ The coach wanted to move him up as a freshman to varsity, and [Anita] was like, ‘I don’t want him to get hurt, but he is good.’ And then we did the same thing when was at Purdue. ‘Are you sure?’ and then when they started talking about pro football, there we were, ‘Are you sure?’ They said, ‘Yes. We know what we’re doing. Just trust us.’”
Throughout his pre-draft process, as their son interviewed with teams across the league, traveling from city to city, the Kerrigans watched with excitement, but some nervousness as well.
The Indiana natives knew their Indianapolis Colts didn’t need an outside linebacker, so they didn’t really have a top choice beyond that as long as it was the best possible situation
Then Kerrigan visited with the Redskins leading up to the draft, and returned home telling his parents that he had found his dream destination. He clicked with Washington’s coaches, he liked the scheme they ran, he was excited about how he would be used, and liked what he saw of the Northern Virginia area.
“It was the only team he indicated he really liked,” Brendan Kerrigan recalls.”
“You want the best for your child,” Anita Kerrigan says. “And as a mother, I was wanting a community that would embrace him because I know what a good person he is and know he would embrace the community. And I did really want him to go to a football city and when the Skins came up, it was all perfect, because with his visit here, and he hadn’t done it any other place, he came home saying, ‘I could really see myself there.’ So we’re very happy for him.”
So when Ryan Kerrigan got the call from Coach Mike Shanahan Thursday night, his parents’ minds again were set at ease.
Kerrigan, who is expected to help upgrade a defense that ranked 31st in the league last season, said hearing his name called by the Redskins was “an awesome experience,” and that he can’t wait to get to work.
“I couldn’t have asked to come to a better organization. When I got the phone call yesterday, I was extremely thrilled, and I’m really glad to be part of this organization. … I fit in really well here, especially being opposite Brian Orakpo. I feel like it will be a good combination and I’m really looking forward to competing and working in OTAs and camp.”