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Nearly 1,000 Attend Annual Luncheon

At one table, Joe Bugel told stories from his first tenure as a Redskins assistant coach. At another table, Cornelius Griffin joked with guests while eating a hearty meal. Nearby, Patrick Ramsey posed for pictures.

At the podium, Redskins great Darrell Green joked that Fred Smoot was more of a "Deion Sanders fan" than a Darrell Green fan. And ex-Redskin receiver Roy Jefferson (1971-76) remarked that Laveranues Coles could have been an impact player in Jefferson's era, too.

It was an afternoon to honor last year's top players--and look ahead to a season full of promise. The Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation and the Redskins Alumni Association hosted the annual Welcome Home Luncheon on Tuesday at The Ritz-Carlton in Tysons Corner, Va.

The entire Washington Redskins team, including players, coaches, staff and alumni, were on hand to greet the nearly 1,000 guests in attendance. At each table, a representative from the team sat with guests.

"I know this football team means a lot in this town," head coach Joe Gibbs said during his address to the crowd. "As we go forward this year and as we talk about the Redskins, we talk about all of us. It's the front office, it's the coaching staff and the players, it's the fans--it's going to be all of us in this together.

"We're proud of our players. We couldn't have asked for any more from them as far as preparation. They've worked extremely hard."

Earlier during the luncheon, the 2003 Player of the Year awards were given to Coles on offense, Smoot on defense and kicker John Hall on special teams. Coles was introduced by Jefferson, Smoot was introduced by Green and Hall was introduced by Mark Moseley.

Coles proved himself as one of the league's premiere wide receivers last year, starting 16 games for the third straight year and catching 82 passes for 1,204 yards and six touchdowns. He earned a trip to his first Pro Bowl.

Smoot has established himself as one of the league's brightest young corners. He displayed a toughness not many had seen before, playing several games with an injured sternum. It earned him the Ed Block Courage Award at season's end. He also led the Redskins in interceptions for the third consecutive year.

Hall brought a strong leg and consistency to the Redskins' place-kicker position last year. He connected on 25-of-33 field goals and nailed a game-winning 33-yarder against the New York Jets in the season-opening 16-13 win at FedExField last September.

The Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation also auctioned off autographed helmets, autographed jerseys and tickets to Redskins home and away games during the luncheon.

But Gibbs was the center of attention during the luncheon. He received a standing ovation before making his remarks to the crowd.

His first words after the ovation? "It remains to be seen," he said, evoking laughter from the crowd.

"The players and coaches--we're all taken aback when we're a part of something like this," Gibbs said. "We appreciate it."

More than 30 Redskins alumni were in attendance, including Green, Moseley, Jefferson, Sam Huff, Charley Taylor, Pat Fischer, Brig Owens and Ken Harvey. It was the most alumni ever in attendance

The Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation was founded by Redskins Owner Daniel M. Snyder in the spring of 2000.

The mission of the foundation is to utilize the assets of the Washington Redskins and its corporate and community partners to make a positive and measurable impact on youth in the greater Washington, D.C. in the areas of literacy, youth development, education and community service.

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