Ryan Kerrigan: ‘I’m Glad I Cut My Hair’

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For Ryan Kerrigan’s full Draft Day experience, check it out over on Redskins.com.

When not out mauling opposing quarterbacks and taking interceptions back for touchdowns, Redskins outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan is just your average everyman.

He relaxes by watching Family Guy and Chris Farley in his prime. He enjoys days when the boss lets him off during daylight hours, so he can spend some time on the golf course.

He’s also really good at growing hair, as evidenced by his Tarzan hairdo at the 2011 NFL Scouting Combine.

It was known going into the 2011 NFL Draft that Kerrigan was a bona fide first-round talent, making him the subject of discussion and analysis by pre-draft pundits. His 14 career forced fumbles in college were an NCAA record, but his most-recognizable feature was his hair.

And then, without warning, it was gone, buzzed down to ‘two around the sides and three on top.’

The burning question two years later, is why?

Like most young adults who make questionable fashion statements in college, Kerrigan told me he recognized it was time to look presentable before entering the workforce. His résumé speaks for itself, but who could ever take him seriously?

“I think [getting a haircut] was a very good move by my part, because it was long,” he said, analytically. “Like, you see the pictures from the Combine? And that was in late February, so it grew all the way up until a week before the draft so that’s another two months.”

Kerrigan knew that every first-rounder dons the cap of their NFL team before walking out on stage to shake the NFL Commissioner’s hand. Could he risk having his hair matted in his face, or worse yet, the dreaded ponytail?

Negative, on both options.

“It was really long and it got to a point where it just looked bad and there’s nothing you can do to make it look good,” he said, shaking his head slowly, thinking back on his decision. “I mean, sure, it looks cool coming out of a football helmet, but when you’re trying to look nice it sure doesn’t help.”

So there you have it.

An October 2011 poll on Redskins.com solicited fans to vote on whether Ryan Kerrigan should regrow his locks or keep it short. The people spoke overwhelmingly (76 percent) in favor of re-growing the flow, but Kerrigan only chuckled and declined.

Another tidbit from our conversation was the strength of handshake with Commissioner Roger Goodell. Many have wondered but few have asked: how strong is the  commissioner’s handshake? Ryan Kerrigan gives the scoop:

“He had a very firm handshake,” he said, flexing his hand slightly at the memory. “I do remember that that was one thing that stood out. Very firm.”

[Editor’s Note: For the record, Ryan shook with his right hand and then did the half man-hug with the left arm. It remains unclear if Goodell is equally strong with the left hand, but stay tuned to Redskins.com for the latest on that.]

For more on Kerrigan’s Draft Day experience, I direct you to the article on the main page, where Kerrigan talks about his personal experience in the green room.

One more tidbit from his Draft Day evening, and what happened when he walked off the stage at Radio City Music Hall:

“Right afterwards it just all kind of happened so fast. You go on the stage to do the whole jersey thing with Commissioner Goodell, then you’ve got a bunch of interviews, downstairs.

“They have a little press conference in Radio City Music Hall with a lot of members of the media and then a few more interviews upstairs in the audience at Radio City. Then from there, my parents and my family and I went out to eat and then celebrated the moment.”




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