Retired Ryan Kerrigan rejoins Washington Commanders as assistant D-line coach

ASHBURN, Va. -- The Washington Commanders turned to a familiar face to help their young defensive ends be more productive, naming Ryan Kerrigan as their new assistant defensive line coach.

Kerrigan will assist Jeff Zgonina, who was elevated to defensive line coach on Aug. 9, the same day head coach Ron Rivera fired Sam Mills III.

Kerrigan retired in July, ending his playing career as Washington's all-time leader in sacks. He helped coach the defensive line during training camp.

"Just still being involved in football and the competitive aspect of it, you can't replace that," Kerrigan said. "You can't replicate that outside of coaching and playing. That's definitely the biggest thing for me is just still having that competitive aspect, that competitive side of it fueled."

Kerrigan will be tasked with helping ends Montez Sweat (21 career sacks in three years) and Chase Young be more productive. Young will miss at least the first four games while on the physically unable to perform list after undergoing reconstructive knee surgery to repair a torn ACL and MCL in November. Young finished with 1.5 sacks in nine games last season.

"The one thing about Ryan is that from the time I got here and watched him in 2020, it's just how much of a true pro he is," Washington coach Ron Rivera said. "A guy that does things the right way, takes care of himself the right way. That'll be very important to our young guys to learn from his example and his experience. I tell this a lot of times to guys that are former players that are coaching, doesn't make you a better coach, just makes you a guy with experience and that they can relate to and that in itself is special. He'll use that and that'll help him in terms of his growth and development as a coach, but also gaining the players respect."

Kerrigan played for Washington from 2011 to '20, recording 95.5 sacks. He was named to the franchise's all-time 90 greatest players list last week. Kerrigan played for the Philadelphia Eagles last season; he didn't have a sack during the season but had 1.5 in the postseason.