Sacks are the most important part of Ryan Kerrigan's job.
As an outside linebacker for the Washington Redskins, they're what he's built his career around. Kerrigan has recorded at least 11.0 sacks over the past three seasons, and in each year he made the Pro Bowl.
However, bringing down opposing quarterbacks was never as important as it was in 2018, when Kerrigan and Campbell's Chunky Soup teamed up to launch the "Sacks for Soup" campaign. For every Redskins' sack last season, Campbell Soup Company pledged to donate 500 cans to the Capital Area Food Bank.
Several months and 46 sacks later, Kerrigan and teammate Ryan Anderson arrived at Mount Vernon Woods Elementary School in Alexandria Va., ready to hand out 23,000 cans to families all around the Washington Metropolitan Area. The event served as the culmination of a successful initiative as well as a rewarding experience for the two Redskins, who were able to see the societal benefits of their pass-rushing prowess.
"It's really cool because [getting sacks is] not only something that we take pride in statistically, but to do that knowing that we're helping out the community -- and Campbell's Chunky Soup being a big part of that -- was really special," Kerrigan said after the event Wednesday night.
"[The families] are very thankful, they're very positive," he added. "They're very happy, and it made the whole process really worthwhile."
The birth of the initiative was simple. Campbell's came to Kerrigan, making him a Campbell's Chunky brand ambassador, and "fortunately we were able to get to the quarterback a good amount of times," Kerrigan said.
No Redskins player did so more than Kerrigan, whose 13 sacks resulted in 6,500 soup cans donated. Defensive linemen Jonathan Allen, Matt Ioannidis and Daron Payne were also heavily responsible for the total with a combined 20.5 sacks.
"After the game, you'd realize, 'OK, that's a good thing. That's more food for people in need,'" Kerrigan said. "It was really a win-win because it was production on the field resulting in bettering our community."
As for Anderson, who recorded two sacks a year ago, he cherished interacting with families from communities that are not much different from the one he grew up in in in Daphne, Ala. The difference, Anderson said, was that his community did not have programs like "Sacks for Soup," organizations like the Redskins and people like Kerrigan to give back to those in need.
But now, having seen firsthand the "life-changing" impact of these events, Anderson is motivated to follow in his teammate's charitable footsteps.
"To see [Kerrigan] give back to a lot of people in need, it makes me want to do more," Anderson said. "He's definitely a great guy to look up to, and he sets great examples, so I'm going to do some of the stuff back home to follow his lead."