When outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan returned to Redskins Park for the start of the offseason training program on Monday, he did so as a new man.
His responsibilities as a player remain the same -- the Redskins expect Kerrigan to continue performing like a perennial Pro Bowler -- but outside of football he's become more nurturing, gentle and appreciative of life.
That's because the 6-foot-4, 260-pound Kerrigan, ferocious and relentless on the field, is a father now. On March 6, he and his wife, Jessica, welcomed their first child, Lincoln Georgie Kerrigan, into the world. And about a month into his new role, Kerrigan can confidently say that being a dad is "all it's cracked up to be."
"Everyone told me the whole time that my wife was pregnant that it’s the best thing ever and that a little girl will melt your heart. I got to a point where I’m like, ‘All right, yeah, I get it,'" Kerrigan told Redskins.com on Wednesday. "But then when she’s born and you’re holding her, it really does. It’s an amazing feeling, and I’m so thankful for her and thankful for my wife for bringing her into the world. She’s just an amazing little girl."
Kerrigan has long wondered what his future kids would look like and how they would act, so to finally experience becoming a parent has been "unbelievable." He sees a lot of himself in Lincoln. She has a full head of hair, just like her father had when he was born.
"When she smiles, it melts me to pieces," Kerrigan said. "It’s hard to describe, but when I’m looking at her, it’s like everything is just right.”
Fatherhood has forced Kerrigan to become more flexible, but he's fully embraced the fact that he and his wife are on Lincoln's schedule now.
Take a look at photos from the second day of offseason workouts for the 2019 Washington Redskins.
As for Kerrigan the football player, he does not expect much to change, and for that he thanks his wife for being "a real champ" since the birth of their daughter.
Kerrigan has still been maintaining the lifestyle and training routine that has made him one of the NFL's most reliable outside linebackers. Since the Redskins drafted Kerrigan in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft, he has started every game, recording at least 7.5 sacks and at least two forced fumbles in each of his eight seasons.
Kerrigan is confident that level of production will continue, with his daughter serving as one of his biggest motivations.
"I have a job to do, and I’m planning to still do it," Kerrigan said. "But yeah I’m working for her now too, for Lincoln. I’m working hard for her.”