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'Special' Feeling At Welcome Home Luncheon

Posted Aug 24, 2011

At the 50th annual Redskins Welcome Home Luncheon , Mike Shanahan did not back down from setting great expectations.


New players are signed, sealed and delivered. Training camp is over after three grueling weeks. A four-game preseason schedule is nearly complete.

And a Redskins season full of promise lies ahead.

This is what’s expected from a franchise that has a glorious 79-year history and has won five NFL titles including three Super Bowls.

And Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan isn’t backing down from setting great expectations – even if NFL pundits predict a more modest season for the franchise.

At the 50th annual Welcome Home Luncheon on Wednesday at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, D.C., Shanahan praised the team’s rich tradition and the former players who have “set the bar” for the franchise.

“What I mean by that is the tradition this franchise has,” Shanahan said. “Anything less than winning the Super Bowl is unacceptable. To me, that’s where it all starts. If you don’t believe, it won’t be done. It has no chance to be done.”

Then Shanahan turned to face three dozen former Redskins players, from Larry Brown to Pat Fischer to Mark Moseley to Gary Clark.

“And thank you all for making that possible and setting the standard so high,” he told them and then asked the nearly 1,000 fans in attendance for a round of applause.

The Welcome Home Luncheon has long been one of the signature events of the Redskins.

The entire team, including owner Daniel M. Snyder, team administrators and all of the coaches and players, were in attendance at Wednesday’s event.

Proceeds from the luncheon, including monies collected from live and silent auctions, benefitted the Redskins Charitable Foundation and the Redskins Alumni Association.

The Redskins presented three players with 2010 Player of the Year awards: wide receiver Santana Moss for the offense, linebacker Brian Orakpo for the defense and linebacker Lorenzo Alexander on special teams. Linebacker London Fletcher was also honored with the inaugural Community Service Award.

Moss and Orakpo joined Shanahan in expressing optimism for the upcoming Redskins season.

“I’m excited about the future,” Orakpo said. “You’re going to see a focused, dedicated, hungry football team that gives every play 100 percent.”

Added Moss: “I can truly say we have something special building, so you all watch out for us.”

Shanahan praised the Redskins’ draft strategy and free agency plan, the latter of which came together in a week’s time in late July due to the NFL lockout. The team was able to re-sign Moss and right tackle Jammal Brown and pick up defensive linemen Barry Cofield and Stephen Bowen, among others.

“We signed every player that we wanted from our own team,” he said. “We were able to do that this offseason. That doesn’t happen very often. We had Santana and Jammal [Brown], all the way through our guys – we wanted them because they could make up the nucleus of our football team. We knew we had to have them.

“We went out and researched free agents, guys who were the nucleus of their football teams, guys like Barry Cofield, Stephen Bowen. They were not only great football players but they also had great character.”

Shanahan then recounted a recent conversation he had with his wife Peggy.

“My wife told me I’d been in training camp for 28 days and I’d been in the league for 28 years,” he said. “One thing that stands out that she told me, ‘You see something very special in this football team. I’ve never seen you so excited about a team.’

“When you have people who enjoy going to work, when you have coaches who like coaching, and when you get a chance to represent a bunch of guys who you know at the end of the season will not disappoint you, then you have an opportunity to do something special. Hail to the Redskins!”

 

 

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