Ryan Kerrigan has hung up his cleats, but he will continue to try help the Commanders win football games this season. The four-time Pro Bowl defender was named as the team's new assistant defensive line coach on Monday ahead of their Week 1 matchup against the Jaguars.
Kerrigan, who will fill the role left vacant following Jeff Zgonina's recent promotion to defensive line coach, retired in late July following a decorated 11-year playing career. The 16th overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, Kerrigan spent a decade in Washington, where he earned four Pro Bowl nods while becoming the franchise's all-time career sack leader.
"Ryan Kerrigan is one of the most accomplished players in this franchise's history," Commanders coach Ron Rivera said of the move, via the team's website. "Following his retirement, we had a great talk about his goals for life after playing. Ryan had an interest in coaching and we were able to allow him to shadow our coaching staff this summer. He is an extremely hard worker with tremendous knowledge of the defensive line position group. I look forward to watching him develop as a coach and assist Coach Zgonina in the defensive line room."
Kerrigan will work one with one of the NFL's best defensive lines. The unit is led by Chase Young, Montez Sweat, Daron Payne and Jonathan Allen. Allen earned Pro Bowl honors last season after recording a team-high nine sacks. Sweat tallied five sacks and a team-high three forced fumbles. Payne contributed to the cause with 4.5 sacks and a career-best 61 tackles. Young, the 2020 Defensive Rookie of the Year, is working his way back from a torn ACL injury he sustained nine games into the 2021 season.
Kerrigan's first game on the sideline will take place this Sunday when the Commanders host the Jaguars in the opening game of the 2022 regular season. Washington's defense will try to contain Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence, who is expected to put up big numbers this season under Jaguars' first-year coach Doug Pederson.