Ryan Kuehl

Ryan Kuehl

A weeklong electronic journal.
Oct. 15 1997 3:30 AM

Ryan Kuehl

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       What a WIN! I walked out of the stadium with my helmet raised high and the biggest grin on my face that I have ever had! Somebody pinch me! To grow up in the Washington, D.C., area, play for the Redskins, and then help beat the Cowboys on Monday Night Football is absolutely awesome. My father told me that I have had two of the greatest days an athlete from D.C. could have. First, I played in the first game ever at JKC Stadium--against the Cardinals--and won. Then, to beat the "Boys" on Monday night ... yep, my dad is right!
       I was nervous for this game because we needed a win and it was the Cowboys we needed to beat. Yes, I did decide to share my pre-game meal with the toilet right before we ran out onto the field. The crowd was awesome! It really helps guys out. People were yelling and screaming from warm-ups to the final minute of the game. Based on all the beer consumed, I bet I had a few fellow pukers at JKC!
       Of the plays I was actually in, I think I did pretty well. The Boys have a real big, good offensive line. Those dudes are some big hogs up there. Their asses are enormous. I played against Larry Allen, No. 73. He is considered to be the best offensive lineman in the league. One nasty dude! I knew that with the size differential (he's 330 lbs., I'm 285 lbs.), I had to stay low, and move quick, or he would maul me.
       One play in particular my preparation really paid off. (Well, almost.) The Cowboys had first and 10 with about two minutes left in the first half. They had no tight end in the game, four receivers, and one running back. The running back was offset to the left, behind my guard. From all my film study, I knew that on a pass, the back would stay in and the center would slide to our right. This creates a three-on-two on both sides of the ball for the Boys. With this type of protection, I had a one-on-one. So, on the snap of the ball, I took one step at Allen, then did a spin move inside. The spin is probably my best move. And, wouldn't you know, I came free. I remember seeing [Cowboys quarterback Troy] Aikman wide open. Then, before I knew it, I was on the ground eating dirt! The bastard [Allen] had reached back and tripped me! Boy, was I ticked off! Everything had worked, and he ruins it! I give him credit, because he did his job, which is to protect the QB at all times, by any means, and not to get caught breaking the rules.
       All that thinking went on for one play. We had 62 plays on defense. Imagine all the thinking by the 22 players on the field for 62 plays. It is a very mental game.
       I finished the game with about 12 plays. I had an assist and a batted ball. That is not a ton of production, but I'll take it. Especially because the batted ball came in the series when we stopped them in four downs with 2:30 left in the game.
       When I woke up this morning my mind was still racing. I always replay every play of mine about 100 times. The plays, good or bad, stay with you for about 24 hours. I only got five hours sleep, so I am pretty tired. Tuesday is the league day off, so I had plenty of time to relish this one. Players use Tuesday to get an extra lift in, or extra treatment on any bumps or bruises. I normally get a massage, then go hit some golf balls, but today I was too damn tired. A big game like that takes a lot out of you physically and emotionally. I really get drained.
       I talked to my parents today. They were really pumped about the game and how I played. That really gives me a lot of satisfaction. I feel I bring a lot of honor and respect to our family name by doing what I am doing. So, when they are happy, I am happy. I want to make them proud of me every time out. My family means a great deal to me, and is one of the reasons I play football. Well, that and big W's like the one last night!

Ryan Kuehl plays defensive tackle for the Washington Redskins.