13 Mar

‘Thanks for having me, Washington’: Kirk Cousins says farewell to Redskins

(Photo by Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post)

Reportedly in information gathering mode as the NFL’s “legal tampering” window opened, free agent and soon-to-be-former Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins shared a farewell message for Redskins fans on Monday.

In a 515-word message posted on his personal website, Cousins began by thanking one of his biggest supporters, former Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan, for selecting him in the 2012 NFL draft. He mentioned “You Like That!,” which still isn’t a question, and recalled Redskins fans greeting the team at Redskins Park in the early morning hours on Dec. 27, 2015 after Washington captured the NFC East title with a win at Philadelphia. He said there is no way he would be where he is today — poised to become the highest-paid player in the league — “without the leadership of the Redskins organization,” including Jay Gruden, Bruce Allen and Dan Snyder.

(Cousins may have also inadvertently tipped his hand about where he’s considering signing by initially including “Vikings” and “Jets,” but not “Broncos” and “Cardinals,” in the tags at the end of his post alongside tags such as “Moving,” “New Team,” and “Classic.” The “Vikings” and “Jets” tags were quickly removed.)

Anyway, here’s the full text of Cousins’s farewell, with a few related hyperlinks added and minus the pop-up ad asking if you’d like to spin a virtual wheel to unlock a secret bonus discount on all the burgundy and gold swag Cousins is looking to unload before he leaves town:

As I’m about to make one of the bigger decisions of my life, I’ll be saying goodbye to my familiar life as a Redskin. After calling Washington home for the past six years, the team has decided to move on to another option and, in turn, my family and I will be moving on as well.

Knowing I will not be putting on a Redskins jersey next season, it’s hard to look back at all that’s taken place and not become emotional. I will forever be grateful to Mike Shanahan for taking a chance on me in the 2012 draft. At the time, many people saw his selection as foolish. Time proved otherwise and taught me that there are no guarantees in this business — if you work hard and learn from your mistakes, good things can happen. For the first time in 11 years I will participate in choosing where I play. Having said this, I would not trade the past decade for anything.

I am filled with gratitude over the unwavering support and devotion from you, the fans, both on and off the field. I’ll never forget how you stormed Redskins Park at 3 a.m. to welcome us home from Philadelphia after clinching the NFC East in 2015. I’ve never been so happy to have my car mobbed. You made “You Like That!” a catchphrase and your boundless generosity helped us raise tens of thousands of dollars for International Justice Mission to protect victims of violence all over the world — No words will express the depth of my gratitude, but “thank you” will have to do for now.

Though we are ultimately measured on a win-loss record, my fondest memories will be the little achievements and struggles that got us there…the everyday memories that made the job fun. I’ll miss Trent Williams’ clever one-liners at a teammate’s poor fashion choices (mostly mine) … breakfast with Scherff and Sundberg …Tress Way’s trivia games … Ryan Kerrigan’s consistency … Jordan Reed’s horrible ping pong (but amazing routes) … Chatting with Jamison Crowder & Josh Doctson in the cold tub …“Dunkin’ Fridays” with Colt McCoy… and on and on.

Just like you never fully leave your hometown — you never fully leave your first NFL team, especially after six seasons. My family and I will always have a piece of Washington deep in our hearts. I arrived as a single, 23-year-old from the Midwest — with a lot to learn and prove. I now leave as a husband of four years to my wife, Julie, and a father to my son, Cooper — but still with lots to learn and prove.

There is no way I would be where I am today without the leadership of the Redskins organization … Coach Gruden, Bruce Allen, Dan Snyder. Thank you all for the opportunity you gave me. When Cooper someday asks: “Hey Dad, what was it like playing for the Redskins?” I’ll proudly tell him it was a dream come true.

Thanks for having me, Washington, and thanks for making me into the player I am today!

The Vikings and Jets have since been removed from the tags at the bottom of Kirk Cousins’s farewell post. (Screenshot via KirkCousins.org)

Read more on the Redskins:

Boswell: ‘We’re about to see just how much damage the Redskins did to themselves’

‘To me, it’s a big deal’: Joe Gibbs will teach lessons from his career in new online program

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