The dog days of summer are currently baking the DMV. The unrelenting heat and humidity make breathing a difficult chore. And the fair-skinned among us are paying a steep price for not slathering on a thick layer of the highest SPF available.
Yet, for football fans, this is the best time of the year. As the calendar flips from July to August the Washington Redskins return to Richmond for training camp and to hit the reset button on last year’s improbable run to the playoffs. Indeed, hopes are high that the sons of Washington will fight on to the postseason again.
I had the opportunity to catch up with star linebacker, Ryan Kerrigan, just hours before he was set to embark on the two-hour trek down I-95 to report for duty. On this day, he was busy cementing his fan-favorite status by handing out free ice cream as an honorary Good Humor ice cream man.
Instead of going in-depth on x’s and o’s, the 27-year-old multi-millionaire opened up about his offseason adventures, his favorite haunts in the city, playing cupid for others and his own love life.
The diehard football fans reading this -- I’m sure there are a few -- will be happy to know he’s going to take it easy on rookies at training camp. He doesn’t want any sour grapes or friction heading into the season. To keep the harmony there will be no taping anyone to goal posts or dumping ice water on unsuspecting teammates in the shower. However, that doesn’t mean the freshman class is going to be let off the hook completely either.
So what is your favorite ice cream?
The Good Humor Strawberry Shortcake. That’s always been a favorite of mine. I remember my mom taking my siblings and I to the Milk Barn as a kid on Fridays during the summer, and that was always my choice!
Would you consider being a Good Humor ice cream man after your football days are over?
I think so. Hopefully we can remove the “honorary” Good Humor man tag after my work and make that a full time endeavor once my playing days with the Redskins are over.
Can you rock the bow tie?
I’m more of a standard tie man myself, but I think the bow tie could work for me.
Let's talk offseason. What adventures did you have?
I had a lot of down time. I did some work with Paisano’s pizza. It’s been pretty low-key. I’ve just been working out and getting ready for the season. I can’t believe it’s already here. The offseason just kind of flew by, but I’m ready for 2016 to start.
Do you have a feeling of dread at the end of summer with training camp rolling around like you did as a kid going back to school?
In a sense. It is kind of like you’re going back to school, but I was always of the mind that I was excited to get back to school to see some of my friends I haven’t seen all summer. It’s kind of the same going back to camp because a lot of your teammates go different places in the offseason and different cities. You’re excited to get back in touch with them and get back to work. And while the work is tiring, exhausting and daunting, it’s also a lot of fun and very rewarding.
NFL training camps are notorious for ribs and pranks. Do you have any hijinxs planned for incoming rookies?
Not particularly. We take it pretty easy on our rookies. We have them do skits and entertain the team during the dog days of camp -- those are always a fun time. But it’s not like the old days where they used to tape rookies to the goal post and stuff like that. Those days are long gone… at least at Redskins Park.
Did you have to perform a skit?
I did a skit with a couple rookie teammates back in 2011. It was fun. It got decent mixed reviews. Looking back, it could have had a little more attention to detail.
What was it?
A couple of teammates had gotten into a fight in practice and one got the better end of the deal, we’ll say. I portrayed the guy who got the worse end of the deal and kind of embellished on that a little bit. He wasn’t too thrilled with it, but he and I are good friends today so it’s okay.
How long did it take you to get acclimated to D.C. after growing up and going to college in Indiana?
Not too long, actually. The city really accepted me and I’ve really enjoyed getting to know the city. There’s so much here. It’s a great place to be not only a professional athlete but a young professional in general. There are so many different areas to see with Arlington, with D.C., Reston and Northern Virginia. It’s been a lot of fun to get to know D.C. and the DMV.
Compare a Friday or Saturday night in Indiana to one in D.C.
(laughs) To be honest, they look the same. I don’t do a whole lot. I go out to bars and restaurants every now [and again], but especially during the season, I don’t do much. Maybe a night out with the boys. Nothing too crazy.
Tell us some of your favorites spots to hang.
I really like Tony and Joe’s on the waterfront in Georgetown. And I really enjoy eating at Filomena in Georgetown, too. Yeah, the Georgetown spots do it for me.
How’s your love life?
It’s good! I have a girlfriend. I haven’t been able to say that in a while, but I do have a girlfriend now!
Are we namedropping or keeping her under wraps?
I’ll keep it under wraps for this, but I tweet at her so it’s definitely not a secret.
Get romantic and give us your best idea of a date.
Gee… I guess it would be somewhere down on the water with that type of view. Good food and good conversation -- nothing crazy. I’m a down to earth kind of guy.
You’ve played matchmaker on 106.7's “Grant and Danny Show." Do you ever hear back from anyone you helped in their quest for love?
Oh, yeah! It’s hilarious and so random -- I’ll be at a Nats or Caps game and I’ll run into somebody who says, ‘hey, you read me a poem on Grant and Danny!’ It’s just a funny thing to actually encounter those people. That’s one of the funniest schticks I’ve ever gotten to do.
Is there a pretty high success rate with those relationships?
It sounds like it. At least for that day it helped!
What’s the one question you’ve always wanted to be asked in an interview, but haven’t?
Hmm. That’s a good question. I’m always very glad when people ask about the Shawn Michaels thing, because I’m very proud of that story and how Will Compton brought it about. [Editor's Note: Talking about his signature sack celebration]
Are you sticking with the WWE-inspired HBK pose for your sack celebration this year?
I think so! You gotta pay homage to the Heartbreak Kid, right?!
Have you spoken with Michaels at all to get a critique?
I remember seeing a tweet where someone showed him a picture of me. He didn’t tweet at me, but he said it was awesome. I did get an autograph picture of him though so that’s good enough for me!