Kirk Cousins Bids 'Farewell, Washington'

Chris Lingebach
March 12, 2018 - 3:35 pm

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Kirk Cousins, preordained prize of the 2018 NFL free agency period, penned his farewell message to Redskins fans Monday.

"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," Cousins writes on his personal website. "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."

Alex Smith -- the quarterback for whom Washington acquired from Kansas City for cornerback Kendall Fuller and a third-round pick -- is that other option, an early offseason indication the Redskins had no intention of even attempting to reach a long-term agreement with Cousins. Thus bringing to a close the Kirk Cousins era in Washington, from 102nd overall draft pick in 2012, behind Robert Griffin III (2nd overall), to training camp breakout starter in 2015. Cousins went on to set the franchise record for passing yards in a season. Now, it's all over.

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.

Cousins has long spoke of his desire to make and choose his own destiny, underlined by the fact that, not since high school -- when he opted for a chance to compete for a starting role at Michigan State -- has he chosen where he gets to play football. On March 14, Day 1 of the league's free agency period, Cousins can make his next choice.

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.

This, my friends, is the high road.

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!

Some front-facing sleuthing by Master Tesfatsion unearthed some revealing keyword tags at the bottom of Cousins' initial missive, notably including "Jets" and "Vikings" along with "Redskins."

If that were the case, initially, those tags have since been revised. Perhaps a bit of gamesmanship -- scrubbed out now that word has gotten out? Or a novice web developer trying to tip the Search Optimization scales, unknowingly leaking inside information to the entire world?

Regardless, today is the day Kirk Cousins chose to make "Redskins quarterback" a nicety of the past. Where he goes from here, only time will tell. But his time in Washington is over.

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