WILLIAMSBURG, Va. - What Kirk Cousins is? The highest-paid quarterback (2018 base salary) in the NFL. What Kirk Cousins was? The former Redskins QB whose life and career changed during six years in burgundy and gold.
"I arrived to Virginia as a single 23 year-old," Cousins explained. "I left as an almost 30 year-old with a wife of four years and a nine month-old son."
Monday, Cousins was back in the state that helped change his course. The 29 year-old QB, who signed a record-setting $84 million contract with the Minnesota Vikings in March, served as a guest instructor at the Colonial All-Pro Football Camp held annually on the campus of the College of William & Mary.
"I love Virginia - always did, always will," Cousins said Monday in Williamsburg. "My wife, too, misses it quite a bit so we enjoy being back. It takes us down memory lane. I always look at Virginia at the place my life went from what it was to what it is and for that I'm very grateful."
Cousins went 26-30-and-1 as Redskins starting QB, including a 24-23-1 record the past three seasons - a stretch during which he started every game. Cousins led Washington to the playoffs in 2015 - his only postseason appearance. The Redskins lost to the Packers in the 2015 NFC Wild Card game.
"I was able to live a dream," Cousins said about his tenure with the Redskins. "The perfectionist that I am is always going to wish I could've done more, that we could've done more. "We certainly accomplished a great deal. I am in a great place and I credit my time in Washington for that. I'm living a dream. I'm partly living a dream because of the last six years for I'm very grateful for what took place."
Cousins, frequently citing the fact he's been overlooked and doubted the majority of his football life - back to middle school and high school, never publicly admitted to being bothered by the two consecutive one year contracts under which he played during his final two years in Washington. However, now that he's signed a then-NFL record contract, does he still feel doubted and overlooked?
"Even with the current situation I'm in, there are people saying I won't provide the return on investment or it wasn't the right direction," Cousins explained. "So I think if you're looking for the chip on your shoulder: I'm learning it's always still there and it's probably never going to go away. That's the perspective I'm going to take: I've still got to prove people wrong, I've still got a lot to chase."
William & Mary announced Cousins' appearance April 12th - after he signed his free agent contract with the Vikings.