Over the last nine seasons, Washington Redskins linebacker Ryan Kerrigan started 139 straight games, the league’s third-longest streak for consecutive starts before finally having to sit out a week after a concussion last month.
It’s a measure of how snake-bitten this Redskins’ season has been that Kerrigan, on the verge of becoming the franchise’s all-time sack leader and a player who was the very definition of an NFL iron man, may be done for the year.
The battered Redskins — starting halfback Derrius Guice, nursing a sprained knee, was placed on injured reserve Tuesday — ruled out a quick return for Kerrigan, who hobbled off the field during Sunday’s loss to the Green Bay Packers after feeling a “pop” in his right calf.
Kerrigan will miss at least Sunday’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles, and will be evaluated “week to week,” for the last two games on the schedule, interim coach Bill Callahan said Monday.
The injured calf, coming on the heels of the earlier concussion, is more bad luck for a player whose durability had been the stuff of NFL legend.
“It’s been a weird year, that’s for sure,” Kerrigan said. “I feel like I’m starting to come along lately with my production and my play, then as soon as I’m playing well, playing better, I get the concussion and now get this.”
If Kerrigan can’t return this year, he’ll have to wait for a chance to become the Redskins’ all-time sack leader. With 90 career sacks, Kerrigan needs just two more to surpass defensive end Dexter Manley.
After a slow start to the season, recording just two sacks in the first nine games, the Purdue product had gotten hot, picking up 3½ sacks in his last three appearances.
The only time Kerrigan was in danger of missing a game was in 2015, when he broke his hand. Fortunately for him, the Redskins were on a bye the following week, giving him time to recover enough to take the field.
“I’ve never seen a pro that takes care of himself the way he does,” Callahan said last month. “So diligent in terms of how he prepares, takes care of his body and trains. I mean, he is relentless in his training, his regimen and his preparation.
“I’ve got the utmost respect for everything that Ryan does for us as a Redskin.”
That respect is shared throughout the organization. Washington resisted trade talks involving Kerrigan at the deadline, despite the team’s poor record and reported interest from other teams like the Indianapolis Colts and the Baltimore Ravens.
The injury is another setback for the 2018 second-rounder, who tore his ACL his rookie season and tore his meniscus earlier this season in Week 1.
“I think it was a cheap shot!!” Guice said in a now-deleted tweet. “He knows the history of my knee injuries and went straight at them.”
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