Washington Redskins players, coaches, alumni, cheerleaders and fans kicked off the 2014 season in style Friday at the 53rd-annual Washington Redskins Welcome Home Luncheon.
This year's Welcome Home Luncheon – which is hosted by the Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation and the Redskins Alumni Association – was held at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Md., and is the only event where fans and corporate partners have the chance to spend time with the entire Redskins team.
Redskins owner Dan Snyder on Friday talked about the importance of an event like the Welcome Home Luncheon, which directly benefits the youth programs of the Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation and Redskins Alumni Association.
"The efforts of our alumni, our players – it is all about the kids at the end of the day," Snyder said, "It's year round for us – it's 365 days. It's about the kids in the community, and we are very, very proud of all the work that we do."
The team's annual award winners were also introduced at the event, highlighting their performance from the 2013 season, and included:
- Bobby Mitchell Offensive Player of the Year:Offensive tackle Trent Williams (presented by alum Jeff Bostic)
- Sam Huff Defensive Player of the Year: Cornerback DeAngelo Hall (presented by alum Brig Owens)
- Community Service Award:Running back Alfred Morris
The Redskins also introduced their inaugural Redskins Salute Award, which is given annually to a player recognizing his involvement with the military community.
This year's Redskins Salute Award – which was presented by General Larry Spencer, Vice Chief of Staff with the U.S. Air Force – was presented to quarterback .
Team President and general manager Bruce Allen also had one more surprise announcement for those in attendance: the induction of legendary Redskins quarterback Mark Rypien to the Redskins Ring of Fame.
Rypien, who was on hand Friday to receive the news, becomes the team's 46th Ring of Fame member, and becomes the first person inducted since former player/coach Richie Petitbon in December 2011.
Other festivitiesFriday's annual Washington Redskins Welcome Home Luncheon was stacked full of festivities and experiences that only a tradition-rich organization like the Redskins could pull off.
The event was kicked off with an exclusive silent auction and reception, followed by an autograph session with the Redskins players.
After taking their seats, those in attendance were treated to a performance by the Redskins Marching Band, and then all of the players were introduced, position by position, by Larry Michael, the Voice of the Redskins.
Each position was led by a youth football player that had been involved in one of the Redskins Charitable Foundation's football programs, and donned the jersey of their school teams. Those participating included:
- Quarterbacks: Armand Bazalar, Park View High School
- Offensive Line: Gordon Lucy, Patriot High School
- Wide Receivers: Rashard Jackson, Ballou High School
- Running Backs/Fullbacks – Jay Cameron, Jr., Friendship Collegiate Academy
- Tight Ends – Brendan Thompson, Northwest High School
- Special Teams – Kayon Whitaker, Friendship Collegiate Academy
- Linebackers – Ryan McVey, Woodgrove High School
- Defensive Backs – Darryl Cook, John Marshall High School
- Coaches – Tony Lilly, head coach, Hylton High School
A live auction was next on the docket, followed up by the awards presentation.
You can helpProceeds from the Welcome Home Luncheon will benefit the youth programs of the Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation and Redskins Alumni Association.
Also, for those interested in joining Redskins Salute – the team's FREE military club – please visit www.redskinssalute.com.