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Redskins 80th Tour Visits Norfolk Naval Base


The 80th Anniversary road show departed from Redskins Park this morning at 6:30 a.m., bound for the Norfolk Naval Station.

This marks the longest road trip of the tour so far, and an opportunity for the Redskins to connect with military personnel and their families.  It's also 20 miles from the hometown of DeAngelo Hall, who will be bringing his mother on the tour today.

Hall will be joined by general manager Bruce Allen, linebacker Lorenzo Alexander, fullback Darrel Young, and defensive linemen Chris Baker and Doug Worthington. 

Former players Mike Nelms and Roy Jefferson--who is being considered as one of the 80 Greatest Redskins--will also be in attendance, joined by the First Ladies of Football and two Hogettes.

Check back throughout the day for live updates and photos.  Later in the afternoon, a separate group of Redskins officials will be visiting the former stomping grounds of running back Evan Royster, visiting Westfield High School in Chantilly, Va.


The Redskins met Allen and Hall with his mother outside the gates of the naval base, where they had a chance to talk to the media and interact with the civilian staff.

Around 10:30 a.m., the Redskins boarded the 80th Anniversary bus and traveled inside the gates to theater C-9, the location of the day's big stop.

The fans that assembled in the auditorium were a good mix of civilian and military personnel, and some of the most enthusiastic and appreciative fans to date.

Emcee Amanda Mitchell set the tone for the day by introducing the theme of fan appreciation, with an extra special thank you for the daily sacrifice that military people make.

The players echoed her sentiments, introducing themselves and thanking the men and women for the opportunity they have to play a game for a living. 

After a brief presentation on the stage, the players, cheerleaders and Hogettes walked out into the crowd to sign autographs and take pictures with the fans.  They interacted with the assembled personnel for nearly 90 minutes, cutting into lunch time, before boarding the bus.

Lunch was provided in the galley on base, where players had the opportunity meet with more sailors, before departing for a tour of the U.S.S. Mahan.

More details on the ship tour to come.  Don't miss photos of the first half of the day on the Redskins Official Blog.


The second stop of the afternoon was to the naval yard, aboard the destroyer class U.S.S. Mahan, and it was a great opportunity for perspective.

From a professional perspective, football is a form of entertainment, with players performing in front of millions of people on a daily basis. 

It's a much different scenario for military personnel, who operate behind a veil of secrecy.  Today was a rare opportunity for players to walk in the shoes of the sailors on the Mahan, and try to understand a day in their lives.

Redskins players and executives were given a grand tour of the ship, which had recently returned from a mission off the coast of Africa. 

The details were classified, but the jist of the mission was to oversee unmanned drone reconnaissance missions in Somalia and Libya, in an effort to re-stabilize the region.

After the tour, the Redskins group re-assembled on the bridge, where the sailors stood at attention.  The players were given another opportunity to thank the sailors for their work, and offered heartfelt anecdotes of their appreciation.

Jefferson admitted that the idea of soldiers and sailors giving their lives for freedom frequently brought him to tears.  Hall called them "the real heroes," and surmised that most men in the NFL did not have the courage to do what they do on a daily basis.

After an autograph and photo session, the Redskins boarded the bus and headed back to Ashburn.  I'm not sure who was touched more--the players or the sailors--but it was a fulfilling day for all involved.




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