Ryan Kerrigan prided himself on taking a consistent approach that yielded equally consistent results. But when his left knee prevented him from doing so, he decided the best result was retirement.
Kerrigan announced his retirement Friday, ending his 11-year career by signing a one-day contract with the Washington Commanders.
He played 10 seasons for Washington before signing with the Philadelphia Eagles last offseason.
He said some doctors told him he should have retired last year because of a bad left knee.
"I wasn't emotionally ready to not play football anymore," Kerrigan said. "I had a good playoff game and that made me think I could still do this. As I got into training again in late June, the knee really bothered me again."
That made it easier for a player who said football factored into every decision he made -- down to what he ate for breakfast in the offseason- to stop playing.
Kerrigan, the 16th overall pick in 2011, retires as Washington's all-time sack leader with 95.5 while also making four Pro Bowls.
He did not record a sack in the regular season with the Eagles, but had 1.5 in a playoff loss to Tampa Bay.
Kerrigan, 33, exits as one of the last stalwarts with ties to the organization's former name. Only 11 players remain who were Kerrigan's teammates under the previous name.
"Us honoring him as the Commanders continues on the legacy of that name and our team as a whole," said center Chase Roullier, one of those 11.
"It shows we are the same group of guys whether that name has changed or not. There's a lot of cultural changes, a lot of things that have changed but we're still able to honor Ryan."
"It's really cool," Kerrigan said at a press conference Saturday, where he was accompanied by his wife and three daughters -- all under 3 years old. "I know this team means a lot to a lot of people
It's one of the oldest franchises in the league and had a lot of great players come through, so for people to think of me that way is pretty cool."