While Darrel Young wages in quite the battles on gameday -- especially when he’s going head-first into the trenches to pave the way for his running backs -- he knows that football is merely a game.
And at the end of the day, good game or not, he’s able to sleep in his own bed and not have to worry about his safety after engaging in a war on the gridiron.
For his brother David – a member of the U.S. Army -- and millions of other service members, though, this is not the case.
Go behind the scenes as Redskins fullback Darrel Young goes in front of the camera for his 2014 photo shoot.
The Washington Redskins hosted Military Appreciation Day presented by GEICO on Sunday, treating service members and their families to practice where they got to meet Young, Robert Griffin III and other players.
With David on his mind, Young said the Redskins hosting Military Appreciation Day is something very special to him.
“Military Appreciation Day is just special to me, because I know someone that’s involved in the military,” Young said shortly after meeting several service members. “Not that it makes it any more special, but that’s my brother, I love him, he’s out there supporting the United States and he’s supporting what we’re doing at the end of the day.”
While Young heard several thank yous after signing autographs, he said it’s the Redskins who should be showing their appreciation.
“They’re saying thank you, but we’re the ones who should be saying thank you,” Young said. “It’s a day to give back, smile, have fun and get away from the game for a second and realized there are more important things than what we do on the field.”
David has spent multiple stints overseas, and as someone the fullback looks up to, Young admitted that it’s been tough on him at times.
But the two keep in touch frequently, and when he can, Darrel tries to provide reminders that those back in the United States are thinking about him.
“My brother has been deployed a couple of times,” Young said. “It’s rough for anyone going through that situation, just because they are away from their kids and their families and they don’t know what’s next.
“Thank God for Skype and FaceTime. He has a phone, I was text messaging him over there, but some of the things being sent over there – anything – just to make him feel at home again was important. Just to make him feel like he’s a part of something and still here. That’s something special to me.”
During the offseason, Young joined the rookies on a visit with active duty and wounded warriors at the USO Warrior and Family Center in Bethesda, Md.
While there, Young met with service members and their families and spent hours talking with them, exchanging stories and sharing a few laughs.
In fact, one service member touched Young so much that they still keep in touch.
“I met a guy over there, his name is Kyle, I still talk to him, text him and say ‘What’s up?’” Young said. “He lost his leg and he’s only 22 years old. I’m looking at myself and I’m 27 and I’m out here running and entertaining people.
"Going to visit them and putting smiles on their faces -- forgetting about what they went through -- that’s something special to me and I’ll never forget it.”
Braving the elements to see the Redskins run through a practice session, Young said their support from the sideline did not go unnoticed.
“It’s just fun to hear those guys cheering,” he said. “It takes them out from what they’re doing on a daily basis -- deploying and leaving their families, getting up early to run PT, which is more than we (run). A lot of those guys are out here and they’re saying ‘Hey, I’m a Redskins fan — RGIII, Alfred Morris, can you bring Morgan Moses over?’
“Standing out here in the rain? That’s support right there.”