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At FedExField, A Draft Day Party To Remember


After the Redskins had selected Miami safety Sean Taylor in the first round on Saturday, head coach Joe Gibbs quickly readied himself for a series of TV and radio interviews.

That was followed by a press conference in the auditorium at Redskins Park.

Gibbs knew at the time that team officials were exploring several trade possibilities.

He also knew that thousands of Redskins fans were waiting for him at FedExField at the fourth annual Draft Day Party.

The event would be Gibbs' first public appearance since he rejoined the Redskins as head coach last January.

A helicopter airlifted Gibbs and his two assistant head coaches, Joe Bugel and Gregg Williams, to FedExField, where a crowd of about 20,000 greeted them.

Fans had arrived early for the Draft Day Party, where they watched performances of the Redskins Marching Band and the Redskins Cheerleaders and met current Redskins Fred Smoot, Rock Cartwright and Darnerien McCants, among others.

Of course, everyone stopped and watched the TV monitors and Jumbotron when the Redskins were on the clock.

It's safe to say that the selection of safety Sean Taylor was met with applause that rivaled a Redskins touchdown on game days.

About an hour after the draft pick, Gibbs, Bugel and Williams arrived at FedExField, where they were led past a throng of fans to a stage at midfield. Fans surrounded the stage.

Gibbs and Williams talked at length about Taylor and the Redskins' draft plans.

Bugel kept his remarks short and sweet: "We're back, we're back, we're back!" Bugel said to wild applause.

Later, Gibbs earnestly answered about a dozen questions from fans.

The Hall of Fame coach has always had a special place in his heart for fans--and the sentiment was certainly evident on Saturday.

"I think the number of people who attended says a lot about our community and Redskins fans," Gibbs said. "I think it's exciting for me--because if you coach football, you want to be someplace where football is important. With all the things we have going on in Washington, football is very important. So it's exciting."

The Redskins' three Super Bowl trophies and NFC Championship trophies were also on display during the draft party. Fans were allowed to have their photo taken with the trophies, up close and personal.

As Gibbs departed, fans capped off a memorable Draft Day Party with the chant, "We Want Dallas!"

Gibbs smiled.

Of course, it brought back special memories for the Hall of Fame coach--of the Redskins' 1982-83 Super Bowl run when fans got revved up for the NFC Championship game vs. the Cowboys. The Redskins, of course, would go on to defeat Dallas 31-17 and win their first Super Bowl title.

Certainly, Gibbs hopes to create more great memories for himself and the fans in his second tenure as Redskins head coach.

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