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'It Really Is Special To Me': Ryan Kerrigan Passes Dexter Manley As Washington's Official Sack Leader

Washington Football Team defensive end Ryan Kerrigan (91) is seen after an NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles, Sunday, Sep. 13, 2020 in Landover, Md. (Alika Jenner/NFL)
Washington Football Team defensive end Ryan Kerrigan (91) is seen after an NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles, Sunday, Sep. 13, 2020 in Landover, Md. (Alika Jenner/NFL)

The Washington Football Team was tied with the Eagles, 17-17, with just over 14 minutes left in the fourth quarter, and Ryan Kerrigan was about to make franchise history.

Carson Wentz had the Eagles at their own 25-yard line when the ball was snapped. Kerrigan, lined up as the left defensive end, was already four yards in the backfield when he collided with left guard Isaac Seumalo and running back Corey Clement. He blew past them with relative ease, grabbed hold of Wentz's jersey and dragged him down for a 10-yard loss.

Kerrigan, who finished Washington 27-17 win over the Eagles with two sacks and 92 for his career, surpassed Dexter Manley's 91 to become the franchise's official all-time leader in the category. Kerrigan has made an impression on the team since he was drafted by Washington in 2011, and now he sits atop a long list of accomplished pass rushers on one of the league's oldest teams.

"It meant a lot. It's pretty crazy," Kerrigan said. "This organization has been around for a really long time, seen a lot of really productive players come through. To be at the top of that list is pretty special for me."

Kerrigan knew heading into his 10th season that he was just 1.5 sacks away from breaking the record. He also openly admitted in August that he wanted to break the record because it was a step towards what he wants to accomplish this year.

Despite only recording 5.5 sacks in 2019 -- the lowest of his career -- Kerrigan still averaged 10 sacks per season. Statistically, it was only a matter of time before he broke the record. He didn't waste much time, though, as he got the first of Washington's eight sacks in the first quarter. He ran through Philadelphia's offensive line unblocked and corralled Wentz for a 10-yard loss.

No. 2 overall pick Chase Young has been calling Kerrigan "a dude" since training camp because of his effort and ability to make plays. When you're a dude, Young said, you're just special.

"I think if you're a dude, you're expected to make plays," Young said after the game. "R.K. is one of the dudes that's going to make plays. I was definitely happy for him. He made a lot of plays today."

Washington has five former first-round picks on the defensive line, including Kerrigan, who was taken 16th overall. Kerrigan was a starter in all nine of his previous seasons, but Young's introduction to the team meant he would have to take on a backup role behind Young.

Kerrigan accepted the change with grace, and head coach Ron Rivera said it shows how unselfish he is and called him a true Washington Football Team player.

"He understands that we've got a couple of young guys we've got to get on the field, but he also knows he has a tremendous role and an impact role for us. Coming off the bench and being fresh and getting two sacks...and causing a couple of other plays out there to happen just speaks to who he is as a young man and what he means to our franchise going forward."

Kerrigan has also tried to help Young and the rest of Washington's pass rushers, Rivera said he has enjoyed seeing that from the veteran.

"I'll go ask him question after question and ask him, 'How did you get your game like that?'" Young said. "I feel like every play R.K. makes, I try to make."

Aside from feeling the joy of becoming Washington's official career sack leader, Kerrigan is happy to have gotten the record so early in the season.

"I'm definitely glad I didn't have to wait around," he said. "It's talked about a lot. It was talked about a lot last year, talked about a lot this year. I'm glad to finally have that."

The Washington franchise has existed since 1932 and had its share of quality pass rushers over its 88-year history, including Manley, Charles Mann and Monte Coleman. After 141 games, Kerrigan has more sacks than all of them on the official career stat sheet, further etching himself into the franchise's history.

"To have my name up there with them now, it is awesome," Kerrigan said. "I don't think I could ever dream of anything like this. It is really special to me."