Cousins returns to MSU to call Green & White game, discusses first year in NFL

MSU fans might have seen Kirk Cousins play the hero role off the bench at times last season for the Washington Redskins — but that doesn’t mean the former standout quarterback vaulted into stardom.

Cousins returned to Spartan Stadium on Saturday to serve as the color commentator on Big Ten Network during the Green and White spring game at 2:30 p.m. and took a few minutes to speak with the media, where he spoke on a variety of topics including his spending habits.

“There’s a couple of cool things that I haven’t bought that I’ve been tempted to buy like a nice pair of Jordan shoes,” Cousins said. “And I keep seeing some really nice cars in the Redskins parking lot when I pull into the facility and you start to think maybe I can do that some day, and then nah that’s not me I can’t do that, I can’t drive a Bentley. Not there yet. It is tempting when you start to get in that life and see these guys and what kind toys they have. It’s much different than the parking lot at Spartan Stadium when you go up to practice a few years ago.”

Cousins admitted he’s been frugal with his NFL money thus far. Teammate Chris Cooley gave him some unused furniture for his first apartment last season, and a few weeks ago when he moved into a new place he “cleared out” Goodwill and bought about $150 worth of furniture from the thrift store.

“I opened up a couple of retirement accounts, so I think to be able to max out your retirement account at 24 is a pretty cool thing, although I’m not going to see that money for a long time,” he joked.

As it has been throughout the spring, the Spartans’ offense was a topic of interest with Cousins at the podium. He echoed much of what head coach Mark Dantonio has said about the offensive woes since Cousins left East Lansing, citing a loss of experienced skill players on that side of the ball.

“One of the rarest things when I was at Michigan State that was a blessing to me was the continuity among the coaching staff,” Cousins said. “I mean to have the same offense for five years, the same offensive coordinator for four years, same quarterback coach for all five years, that’s a major blessing that I think gets forgotten that helped me in my development.”

In terms of his take on the quarterback battle, Cousins said senior Andrew Maxwell is reliable to run the show because of his starting experience, but that sophomore Connor Cook has “all the tools you’re looking for in a quarterback, athletically and physically.” Cousins is least familiar with redshirt freshman Tyler O’Connor, he said, but added he hears he’s a promising player from other players.

Throughout this first year as a professional, Cousins was worried about hazing, hitting the “rookie wall,” and getting lost in the playbook, he said. After the season ended with a playoff loss to Seattle, he said he realized none of those things came to fruition and felt like he had a good rookie outing.

He said he loves the Washington, D.C. area and could wind up starting the first week of the 2013 season as starter Robert Griffin III rehabilitates from and anterior cruciate ligament injury.

“It’s just a matter of staying patient and understanding that my career is a marathon and not a sprint,” he said. “I just gotta make the most of the opportunities I get and if I do I’ll get a chance to be a starter in this league at some point.”

Cousins is also releasing a book, “Game Changer: Faith, Football and Finding Your Way” on June 25. He said it’s not a biography but rather a story penned to the 15-year-old Kirk Cousins warning him about the next 10 years and the good and bad decisions along the way.

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