Ryan Kerrigan is the epitome of toughness.

The former Purdue star has played in 76 straight games for the Washington Redskins. A broken hand at the end of October didn’t derail Kerrigan’s streak, nor did it slow down another all-pro season. It’s that type of determination that made Kerrigan a fan favorite in Washington DC.

Kerrigan’s toughness was why one American hero became a fan of him the day he was drafted by the Redskins. That hero was Robert O’Neill. Does that name sound familiar?

It should. That’s the guy credited with killing Osama bin Laden.

How did this come to be? Well, to learn the complete story, check out this feature in the Muncie Star Press, which details how the they developed a relationship.

O’Neill, a lifelong Redskins fan, actually remembered where he was the day his team drafted Kerrigan 16th overall in the loaded 2011 class. He told the Star Press that he was on a treadmill in Afghanistan and┬áhe was so fired up by the pick that he turned up the speed on the treadmill. Then he remembered that he had no reason to get excited.

He expected to die in two days when he attempted to kill the world’s most wanted man.

But, as the story goes, O’Neill not only lived, he became an American hero. Kerrigan, meanwhile, has flourished as O’Neill thought he would and is a finalist for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award.

The two connect frequently because O’Neill travels to Redskins games often. Now a professional public speaker, O’Neill has delivered pregame speeches before┬áRedskins before games, too.

Naturally, O’Neill was fired up again when the Redskins signed Kerrigan to a $57.5 million extension before the start of the 2015 season.

Go figure that the former B1G star would be admired by one of the baddest dudes on the planet.