By Chris Lingebach

WASHINGTON — Kirk Cousins spoke directly to Redskins fans in an intimate setting Sunday, previewing the 2017 season with 106.7 The Fan’s Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier, leaving them all on a message of hope.

“I just want to say ‘thank you.’ It’s a privilege to play for you all,” Cousins told the crowd of 70 burgundy-and-gold-clad fans, gathered around the stage at DC Lottery Live. This special occasion, driven by the Lindsay Automotive Group.

“You guys have been phenomenal from Day 1 that I’ve been here,” he said. “My wife and I love living here. We love being in this city.”

“When I talk about being disciplined, and doing the things you don’t want to do so you can do the things you do want to do, what I want to do is to give the people in this room something to cheer about,” he said.

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“When I run out onto the field, I think of you guys, either in the stadium or at home around your TV sets, gathered with family and friends, living and dying with every up and down of this team and this season,” he said.

“I understand that when we win, this city comes alive,” he continued. “Crime goes down the day after we win. I mean, it is a beautiful thing when the Redskins are winning.

“So this city comes together, and in a city where there can be a lot of division, there’s one thing we can all be united about, and that’s the Redskins. And when they’re winning, we come together. And I understand that, I’ll put it that way.”

“That doesn’t mean we’re going to go 16-0,” he said, “but understand that I get that. I understand that, and I understand we need to win. You guys did it in the 80s and the early 90s with Joe Gibbs and we can do it again, but I want to see that happen. I want to make that come alive.”

“When you see the Redskins, and people wear Redskins around town,” he said, “I want people to think ‘excellence’ and ‘class,’ and we can do that.”

The Redskins quarterback went into detail about the great extent to which he prepares his body, gleaning wisdom along the way from the NFL’s best and most successful at his position.

“It’s a tough balance between the Xs and Os, time at the building preparing for the football side, and then knowing that I also need to prepare my body at home for the physical side of the season,” Cousins said.

“Especially, I need to be doing things Week 1, 2, and 3 so that I’m still there in Weeks 11, 12 and 13,” he said. “I have to be available. I mean, that’s something that Mr. Snyder will even communicate to me. Like, ‘Look. If you’re our guy, you’ve got to be out there. We can’t have you on the sidelines injured.’ And so, I understand that, and as a result, I want to really make an investment, because I only get one body.”

“I’ve talked to these guys like Drew Brees at the Pro Bowl,” he explained. “And said, ‘How have you been able to play 15, 16, 17 years and just not missed games, and still feel good at your age? You’re not limping around. You look like you’re 26. How do you do that?’

“It’s a combination of discipline, diet, disciplined sleep — going to bed early, getting a good nine hours — and then things like a hyperbaric chamber, or things like stretching, having a personal trainer.”

“It takes a financial investment, but it’s well worth it,” he said. “It takes discipline, but as you know, it’s a beautiful thing when you can put it all together and be feeling good.”

“You get nine hours of sleep a night,” Paulsen asked in disbelief.

“I try to,” Cousins said.

The Redskins invited a sleep specialist from Stanford University this offseason, Cousins says, to speak to the team about the importance of sleep for professional athletes.

“We have a few West Coast trips this year,” Cousins said. “We’re going to leave a day early. All these things that go into being ready for Sunday and kickoff and not being all out of whack.”

“We talked about that, and maybe we should practice at some different hours this year to be ready for that and to play better,” he said. “She said that some of the top athletes in the world — the LeBron James’s, the Roger Federers — these guys are sleeping like 12 hours a night.

“And she said that, ‘We think that, oh, you oversleep, you sleep too much, you’re lazy; the research is showing that if you want to cut corners and only get 5, 6 hours a night, that’s fine for a time, but that catches up with you and eventually you get the short end of the stick.'”

“And so, for the long-term health and long-term production, to be there in Week 17, I try to get nine hours a night,” he added. “I’m still getting up at six, so the key is getting to bed at nine rather than sleeping in.”

Follow @ChrisLingebach and @1067TheFan on Twitter


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