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Hearing Loss No Obstacle for Redskins' Top Pick

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Rookies Ryan Kerrigan and Leonard Hankerson discuss their first practices as members of the Redskins. (Published Wednesday, May 25, 2011)

    Redskins' first-round draft pick Ryan Kerrigan was a defensive force on the field for Purdue while dealing with something that might hinder a lot of athletes.

    Kerrigan is deaf in one ear.

    Redskins Tight Ends Wrestle After Practice

    [DC] Redskins Tight Ends Wrestle After Practice
    Redskins tight end Fred Davis accepts tight end Chris Cooley's wrestling challenge. (Published Thursday, May 26, 2011)

    It’s not a complete hearing loss, but it’s enough to make it difficult when someone is standing to his left. The loss came as a result of a series of serious ear infections as a child, and the hearing loss was diagnosed when he was 8 years old.

    “I feel pretty normal with it,” he told us.”It’s only when someone is directly on my left that I have a hard time with it. Other than that, it doesn’t bother me at all.”

    Redskins Gather for Players-Only Practice

    [DC] Redskins Gather for Players-Only Practice
    More than 40 Washington Redskins gathered on a high school field for another players-only practice Tuesday. (Published Tuesday, May 24, 2011)

    Due to the lockout, Kerrigan hasn’t been able to discuss it with the team, but he’s not concerned about how coaches will handle it.

    “I addressed it at the combine and it hasn’t hindered my performance,” he said. “I’m sure the team knows, but we haven’t really talked about it.”

    It’s an obstacle the Redskins are familiar with. Safety Reed Doughty has hearing loss and wears hearing aids to help him better communicate with his teammates.

    Because Kerrigan plays on defense, he doesn’t have to worry about missing play calls. His Big Ten record 14 forced fumbles and Purdue's second all-time 33.5 sacks should quiet any doubts about it affecting his performance.

    Besides, the affable rookie has bigger concerns. The modeling shoot he did with Five Four clothing earned him some ribbing. How much did his friends tease him?

    “Oh, so much,” he laughed. “Especially with the scarf picture, you know that’s not really me. But it was fun. I’ve never done a photo shoot before, but I caught a little bit of flack for doing it.”
     
    Questions, comments or tips? Email Sarah at sarahskogod@gmail.com. You can also follow her on Twitter (@sarahschorno).