When general manager Bruce Allen returned to the Redskins in 2010, one of his first initiatives was to create an annual Homecoming game that honored the tradition of a storied NFL franchise.
“We wanted to honor the Redskins Alumni in a way that dad would be proud of,” Allen said of his late father, former Redskins head coach George Allen.
The Redskins also inducted 10 former players and coaches into the Greatest Redskins of All-Time, joining the 70 that were selected a decade ago.
As part of the weekend's activities, the alumni interacted with the current players, held a private Saturday night gala, and built a playground in downtown Washington D.C. as part of a community service project.
The alumni attended the weekend’s celebration represented 1,024 combined seasons with the team, 80 Super Bowl rings, 43 members of the 80 Greatest Redskins, 21 members of the Redskins Ring of Fame and nine Pro Football Hall of Famers.
Redskins great LaVar Arrington played linebacker for the burgundy and gold from 2000-2005. He appeared in 79 games and recorded more than 340 career tackles with 22.5 sacks with the team.
“I’m just really happy to be back,” Arrington said. “You don’t really realize how big the void is that was filled by these fans in this environment until you get an opportunity to come back and be a part of it.”
Arrington brought his kids to the stadium today and explained that sharing the moment with his family meant the most to him.
“This is the first time my kids have ever seen what they love,” Arrington said. “This is what my kids know and what they talk about. That means more to me than anything else that they get to have that kind of experience.”
Arrington was named one of the “10 for 80” honorees at the team’s Welcome Home Luncheon and joked that an honor like that moves him “further towards immortality.”
“When I’m long gone from this earth, somebody will still say my name because it’s among the 80,” he added with a smile. “That number will grow, but that year of the 80th anniversary will always have my name on it. I’ve very, very humbled by it.”
Former Redskins running back Clinton Portis played with Arrington for two seasons and was another honoree on the “10 for 80” list.
Acquired by the Redskins in 2004, Portis played in Washington through 2010. After rushing for 6,818 yards in the burgundy and gold with 46 touchdowns, Portis announced his retirement with the Redskins earlier this year.
“Just to have this opportunity, you think, not too long ago I was playing and now to look back and say I’m alumni,” Portis said. “All of the sudden you see the guys with all of the tradition that created the tradition that made the Redskins the organization as special as it is.”
Portis said he was in awe when standing around Redskins greats Art Monk and Darrell Green during the alumni group photo before the game.
“When you think of the Redskins organization those are guys who were always legendary,” he said. “Now I’m standing in the picture and they’re putting their hands around me.”
Portis stressed how much of an honor it was for him to be mentioned in the same group as some other Redskins legends, even as a junior member.
“I feel like I’m not supposed to be here at 31,” Portis said with a grin. “You look around and you see all these guys who were before you. I feel like it was before my time, but it’s an honor.”
Jon Jansen played offensive tackle for the Redskins from 1999-2008. His elite blocking helped lead the way for Portis incredible rushing seasons.
Similar to Arrington and Portis, just being mentioned with other Redskins legends is truly and honor.
“It’s crazy because there’s a lot guys that I played with and I love the history of the Redskins,” Jansen said. “There’s a lot of guys here that I watched growing up and studied while I was here so it’s such a great reunion.”
Jansen shared his opinion about this year’s squad and was extremely optimistic about the team’s future.
“I think they’re in the right track,” he said. “They’re trending up and I really like watching RGIII. There are only a few guys left that were playing when I was here so it’s still fun to watch those guys too.”
However, his induction as one of the 80th greatest Redskins was the biggest honor of all.
“It’s something that I truly cherish,” he said. “I’m just happy to be in the moment.”