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Orakpo Leukemia Classic Unites Redskins


On Monday, the Washington Redskins gathered at Trump National Golf Club for the annual Brian Orakpo Leukemia Golf Classic.

Orakpo was joined by a majority of his burgundy and gold teammates, participating to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS).

After the festivities began with a customary shotgun start, Orakpo addressed everyone in attendance and expressed his gratitude for the overflowing support shown by his teammates.

"It's a huge honor to represent this LLS Foundation and to have support from my Redskins family really means a lot," Orakpo said. "Today we're supposed to be working and getting better in the film room [and instead], they're out here support this foundation to raise a lot of money."

For weeks, the team has been voluntarily been conjugating early each morning for offseason workouts, as they look to build on last year's success.

For one day, however, head coach Mike Shanahan gave the players a day off from their condition drills to support Orakpo and the fight to end the disease.

"It's great. Our whole football team comes out here instead of working out today. We've had three weeks of our OTA programs, got guys working extremely hard and we take a day off and sponsor this golf tournament [instead]," Shanahan said about their day away from the practice facility. "Brian does a heck of a job and our players support it so it's a nice day."

Despite overcast conditions on the course, the players' supportive spirits were not dampened.

"It's a great opportunity. I wouldn't say I'm the best golfer in the world, but that's not what today's about," quarterback Kirk Cousins said. "Today is about raising money to help the fight against Leukemia and anything we can do along those lines is going to be a great thing."

Linebacker Ryan Kerrigan shared those sentiments and spoke about mixing the joys of golf and raising money in the effort to end Leukemia.

"Anytime you can help out with one of your teammates charitable endeavors, it's a good thing, especially if you get to play a little golf as well," Kerrigan said with a grin. "It's a win-win."

Shanahan was hired in 2010 to help turn the Redskins around—a task that starts on the football field and extends to the community at large.

"I'm really passionate about trying to help people outside of the organization and you've got guys like [Orakpo] and a number of our players putting so much time for great causes. We have a great day," Shanahan said. "We get a chance to spend some time together and as we've talked about, it's for a great cause."

Since his arrival via the 13th pick of the 2010 draft, Brian Orakpo has become a fan favorite, an affection that he tries to give back to his fans that need it the most.

"Well it was the kids and the families that [were] getting to me, across the DMV area, [and] had me so passionate about [finding a cure]," Orakpo said. "What they go through on an everyday basis, week in and week out dealing with this particular disease…the game I play, it's so easy for me to come out here and play a game of football, but it's life or death for those young [children].

"I try to do the best I can just to give back to the community and just seeing their spirits. Lifting their spirits in any way I can, it means a lot to me."




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