Ricky Jean Francois and Will Blackmon have experienced the NFL in London. They shared some memories of their time overseas with Redskins.com.
Ricky Jean Francois did not know that the Redskins would be traveling overseas to take on the Bengals next season by the time the media got into the locker room following practice Wednesday afternoon.
But after being informed of the game, which will take place on Oct. 30, 2016, at Wembley Stadium, Jean Francois' face lit up.
He bagan rattling off his week in London in 2010 when the San Francisco 49ers, the team that drafted him in 2009, played the Denver Broncos in the fourth-ever regular season game played in England.
"It's a great experience to go to London," Jean Francois told Redskins.com. "If you've never been overseas, this is the time to go: from the eating, the culture, the parks, the palace… it's just different. It's a different environment and has a different vibe that you'd enjoy. Even the family would."
Jean Francois said the reception for both teams and all the players was like "a Super Bowl atmosphere" even though the differences between American football and soccer and rugby can be a little difficult to grasp in just a week's time.
"I have one memory when we were throwing the football, I think it was rugby players, that kept looking at us crazy, and we were like, 'Why are you guys looking at us like that?'" Jean Francois said. "They were like, 'Why are you throwing a football like that.' We were like, 'That's how a football is supposed to be thrown!' They were like 'football's aren't supposed to be thrown overhanded; they're supposed to be thrown underhanded.' They were teaching us, and we were like, 'So you're going to get a ball 60 yards down the field doing that? That ain't going to happen. This is the way we play football.'"
Jean Francois joked that he liked almost everything, except for the weather.
"The only thing I hated about it was just the weather," Jean Francois said. "I think because when we were in the country the weather was bad, but when we got in the city… I'm talking about the parks, everything, and the people… it was a beautiful experience. I always kept wondering when I would be able to play back over there again. It was amazing."
On game day the stadium was full of support for all 32 NFL teams.
"The funny thing was is that everybody over there had different jerseys on," Jean Francois said. "I feel like they didn't know what football was, but they just knew about it because of certain things. But I've played in the Super Bowl before and it feels like a Super Bowl outdoors. When you play inside Wembley, even though the weather is rainy and stuff, I'm telling you, it feels like a Super Bowl atmosphere. Everybody is there, the crowd's going crazy, and not just for the home team, they're going crazy the whole time."
Cornerback Will Blackmon played with the Jacksonville Jaguars against the Dallas Cowboys in 2013 at Wembley Stadium.
While the best memories of the trip were before the opening kickoff -- the food and the social life in particular -- he's looking forward to another opportunity to play in front of an international audience.
"It will be a cool experience," Blackmon said.