On the 1,752nd snap, Ryan Kerrigan rested.
The Redskins outside linebacker sat out the first defensive snaps of his career in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles, a game that was well in hand at that point for the Redskins, who won 31-6.
Kerrigan — the Redskins’ first-round (16th overall) pick in the 2011 NFL Draft — had played in 1,751 straight defensive snaps to begin his career until the coaching staff replaced him with Chris Wilson for nine plays at the end of Sunday’s game, according to Pro Football Focus stats.
The Purdue product said it was “kind of weird” to watch the Redskins’ defense at work from the sidelines.
“It was a little bit odd,” Kerrigan said Monday night. “It’s definitely something I took pride in.”
Though Kerrigan would prefer to play every defensive snap, he said having such a large lead and winning the game trumps any individual accolades.
“It’s the first time I’ve ever experienced anything like that,” Kerrigan said. “Even in college I never had a game so well in hand that I was pulled out early. It was a unique feeling, but it was cool that it came because we played so well.”
Other than preseason games the last two seasons, Kerrigan said he believes the last time he sat out a defensive snap was his senior year at Purdue.
Even then, watching from the sidelines wasn’t very common for Kerrigan.
“College offenses tend to be a little more up-tempo, and earlier in the season I would sit out a play here and there because it can get so hot,” he recalled. “But once it got about midway through the season, I wouldn’t sit out unless the coach told me to.”
Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan said Monday that he’s admired Kerrigan’s consistency this season, even after added pressure coming his way due to the Week 2, season-ending pectoral injury to fellow outside linebacker Brian Orakpo.
“Any time you lose a pass rusher on the other side … it puts a lot of pressure on a guy,” Shanahan said. “[Kerrigan’s] been playing extremely hard each week. … He fights for 60 minutes. He’s the type of guy you want to go to war with.”
Kerrigan looks to start a new snaps-played streak Thursday, as the Redskins travel southwest to take on their rivals, the Dallas Cowboys, for a Thanksgiving Day matchup at Cowboys Stadium.
“I take pride in the way I take care of myself and how I prepare to play the game,” Kerrigan said. “I want to be out there every snap possible to help out our defense and our team.”
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