It’s a rare opportunity to get an insight in to a ‘day in the life of’ an NFL player, however, allow me to introduce to you, outside line backer for the Washington Redskins – Ryan Kerrigan.
Tell us a little about yourself
I was born and raised in Muncie, Indiana, and I lived there pretty much all my life until college when I went to Purdue for four years. I played there and then I’ve been up here in Virginia and Washington ever since.
Why did you want to become a professional football player? When did you know it was what you wanted to do?
It never seemed like a reality or possibility until probably right before my junior year of college because I started seeing guys ahead of me go and get drafted. I was thinking that if they can do it, then why can’t I? Growing up, it always seemed a little far-fetched but as you get older and realize it’s a possibility, you start preparing to make it a reality.
Talk me through a typical day of a player in the NFL
In the off-season it’s a lot slower than in season. I come in at about 8:30 a.m. and eat breakfast. I do my lifting and running after that, then I do a recovery stretch. I eat a couple of meals and then I usually do Pilates or yoga in the evening. I handle whatever else I need to do, any things around the house or things with my foundation. During the season, it’s pretty hectic. Our time is pretty much taken up for the entire day.
What would you eat in a typical day? Do you stick to a strict diet and have ‘cheat’ days or do you allow yourself to have what you want, when you want?
I eat a lot because I have to keep on weight. I eat probably seven times a day. I eat a big breakfast, and then after I work out I eat and drink a protein shake. After I do my recovery stretch, I eat my first lunch, and then a couple of hours after that I eat my second lunch. Then, I go do Pilates and drink a recovery shake after that. I eat dinner about an hour after that. Usually before bed I eat something small, like Greek yogurt or something. It’s a lot of food for sure and it does get a little exhausting having to eat that much because I don’t want to eat that much, but I have to keep on weight. Hopefully I’ll have that same problem when I’m not playing football.
What do you like to get up to in your downtime, when you’re not playing or training? What are your favourite hobbies?
I’m getting into golf pretty big right now and over the past few years, I’ve started to play more. I became a member at a local club here, so it’s been fun. I’m still not very good, but I enjoy being out there and that’s all that really matters. I’m starting to fish a little more too. A lot of the guys on the team like to go fishing, so I’m trying to have them help me learn.
What are the positives and negatives of being a professional football player?
There’s a lot more good and great than bad. You get to play a game for a living and it’s a lot of fun. Sundays are the best day of the week. You get to play in front of thousands of people who want to be out there, so you want to put on a good show for them and perform. Football creates a lot of opportunities and it has been a blessing to be able to play. Some of the bad is obviously injuries. Those are frustrating because they don’t just affect you for football. They affect your day-to-day life. If you’re on crutches, then that makes getting around the house even more difficult. Injuries are probably the biggest bummer about football. There’s also good turnover rate in football, so you’ll be making friends with a guy and then he may get released, drafted or traded. Those are a couple of the only real bad parts about it, but other than that, it’s a blessing to play.
Do you have any rituals when it comes to game day?
I usually eat the same meal every pre-game: a couple of pieces of chicken, a couple sweet potatoes and some broccoli. That’s about it. I don’t really have a lot of traditions. I listen to music, but not any particular songs. I’ll listen to a country song or a rap song. It’s kind of whatever Siri wants to put on for me.
The Redskins will be coming to London for the International Series, have you been to London before?
I’ve never been to London, so this summer will be the first time I’m going. It’ll be pretty interesting.
The great thing I have noticed when it comes to American sports is that it is largely based around the fans and their experience. How important to you are the fans? If you could give any message to the fans here in the UK, what would it be?
I’ve heard that the fans over there are really great. I’ve heard playing there is really fun and that it’s a great atmosphere. I’m excited to get to experience them a little bit because although they don’t have the NFL over there right now, they do seem to be into it.
Thank you so much to Ryan Kerrigan for giving us some insight to his day and what it is like to be an NFL player. I appreciate him taking the time out of his schedule to answer our questions, and also thanks to the press team at Washington Redskins for helping to make it happen.