It was a special day at the Washington Commanders facility for Day 4 of training camp. Not only did it wrap up a solid week of practice for the team, but a certain Washington legend was also back in town to spend one last day with the team that drafted him.
Ryan Kerrigan, who announced his retirement from the NFL on Friday, was the guest of honor during Saturday's practice. He could be seen on the defensive sideline mingling with the Commanders' defensive linemen as they rotated in and out of team drills.
"When you have a player who's gonna retire and is the all-time sack leader, you most certainly need to recognize the contributions to the organization, to the franchise, to the community, said head coach Ron Rivera.
There are a decade's worth of memories Kerrigan created with Washington, whether it was helping the team beat the Dallas Cowboys in 2018 or getting to know the fans a bit better. The relationships he built along the way, though, are what he enjoys the most.
"It's when I come back here...that I really am like, 'That's why I love this place,'" Kerrigan said. "It's all the relationships you build over the years with teammates, the coaches, the people in the kitchen, the strength staff, [the media] ... It's those that have really made this such a special thing."
Let's look at some of the things Kerrigan saw at his final practice with Washington.
-- Washington started the day off with red zone drills, and fifth-round pick Cole Turner was working with the starters as Logan Thomas and John Bates dealt with their respective injuries. He was targeted twice by Carson Wentz, and both plays ended with Turner scoring touchdowns. The red zone is where Turner feels that he excels the most. Most of his touchdowns at Nevada were in that area of the field, and he should be able to fill that role for Washington in his rookie season.
-- Dyami Brown finished up a strong first week of camp with a touchdown catch of his own from Taylor Heinicke. Brown, who had an impressive catch over Kendall Fuller on Friday, said he feels like Year 2 is going to be big for him, as he's more comfortable in the offense. So far, he's backed up those claims.
-- After wrapping up red zone drills, Washington moved on to two-minute drills with 90 seconds on the clock for the starting and second units to get into the end zone. Wentz started the drill strong, completing three-of-four passes. With seven seconds left and facing fourth down, Wentz fired a shot to Jahan Dotson, who made the touchdown catch as time expired.
-- Another impressive touchdown grab came from reserve tight end Curtis Hodges, who was working with Heinicke and the second unit. Hodges was covered by two defenders and hauled in the throw from Heinicke in the back of the end zone. Rivera had some praise for Hodges after practice, saying he loves how coachable he's been.
-- Antonio Gibson was back participating in practice this morning and was with his fellow running backs during individual drills. Gibson, who Rivera said is going to be "ramped up" before he makes a full return to the team, did not participate in team drills. The fact that he was back on the main field in some capacity was a good sign, though.
-- Sammis Reyes was also utilized in two-minutes drills with the starting offense and made three straight catches, one of which came on a fourth down. Reyes is facing a tough challenge to make the initial 53-man roster, but it's clear that a year of learning the sport has served him well. He'll need to string together similar performances over the next month to give himself the best chance possible.
-- Darrick Forrest was one of the standouts early in practice, as he stuffed two run plays during red zone drills. We're still a few days away from being in full pads, so there wasn't any contact on the play. Still, he was in the right position, which earned some boisterous praise from defensive backs coach Chris Harris.
-- Benjamin St-Juste and William Jackson III were two more members of the secondary with strong practices. Jackson knocked the ball out of Terry McLaurin’s hands, while St-Juste had a pass breakup on Alex Erickson in the end zone. Jackson said after practice that communication is "1,000% better" in the secondary, and everyone is having fun in the defensive backfield.