Former professional football player Patrick Kerney recently visited The Gunnery in Washington.

He spoke at a school meeting before having lunch with the student leaders and stopping by varsity football practice.

At the school meeting, Kerney spoke to the student body about having different opportunities available and the importance of being open minded about them.

He used sports as a metaphor for how to live life; with perseverance and practice, with pride and humility.

Kerney spoke candidly about how he almost stopped playing football altogether for other sports.

It wasn’t until he couldn’t play football because of an injury that he realized he had to take the opportunity to play football at the University of Virginia because of how much it meant to him, he said.

Kerney stopped by varsity football practice to work with the players on drills and to talk about the importance of sports in building healthy habits and providing networking opportunities.

“It was great to see the excitement of the players who worked with Mr. Kerney,” said Steve Gritti, head varsity football coach.

“It’s not often that you get an all-pro to work with young adults; they hung on his every word,” he said.

“He jumped into drills with them and was able to show them what techniques are actually supposed to look like,” Gritti said.

Jackson Yang of the Class of 2018 said “It was a great honor and pleasure for me to have met Mr. Kerney in person.”

As a Seahawks fan and a defensive end on The Gunnery team for three years, I have a tremendous amount of respect for him,” Jackson said.

“During our practice session, he taught us that football was not just about pure strength; with a steady base of athleticism, the techniques and form decide everything.”

“We went over basic blocking drills, one-on-one pass blocking/ rushing reps,” Jackson said.

“Mr. Kerney patiently instructed us and pointed out every minor flaws of our movements,” the student said. “I learned about his dedication to the game. It was a truly amazing experience for me and my teammates not only related to athletics, but also a lesson in life.”

Kerney, a graduate of the Taft School, went on to play football at the University of Virginia, where he was the 1998 ACC Defensive Player of the Year.

He was drafted in his first round by the Atlanta Falcons in 1999 and went on to a successful career as their starting defensive end and was named 2002 Defensive Most Valuable Player and 2004 All-Pro.

Kerney moved on to the Seattle Seahawks in 2007, leading the NFC with 14.5 sacks in his first season with the team and earning a starting spot in the Pro Bowl.

During his stint with the Seahawks, he once again was named All-Pro in 2007.

He was also named the 2007 NFC Defensive Player of the Year and the 2008 Seattle Seahawks Man of the Year.

Kerney retired from the NFL in 2010, and recently earned an MBA from Columbia University Business School.

He is married to Lisa and has four children. He is an avid fly fisherman.