The Washington Redskins on Friday, Aug. 28, 2015, with the help of USAA, held a walkthrough practice exclusively for the military at Joint Base Andrews in Prince George's County, Md
Just as they did last year, the Washington Redskins changed up their practice scenery for a day, holding a walkthrough session at Joint Base Andrews on Friday under blue skies and unseasonably mild temperatures for late August in the Washington, D.C., area.
The Washington Redskins on Friday, Aug. 28, 2015, participated in an exclusive walkthrough for service members invited by USAA at Joint Base Andrews in Prince George's County, Md.
Joint Base Andrews – which combined Andrews Air Force Base and Naval Air Facility Washington – first became operational in May 1943 following an order from President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
The practice session was held with several servicemen and women on hand, who were invited by USAA, the Official Military Appreciation Sponsor of the Washington Redskins.
The players ran through their traditional day-before-game walkthrough, simulating potential plays that they’ll run and getting the legs lose before playing the Baltimore Ravens.
Quarterback Robert Griffin III, whose jersey was worn by several attendees on Friday, manned the fist-team offense, while defensive mainstays Ryan Kerrigan, DeAngelo Hall and Keenan Robinson lined up opposite of the line of scrimmage and just feet from the military men and women.
Redskins President Bruce Allen welcomed the team to the crowd, saying the team was "very proud and honored to be here."
As part of its broader relationship as Official Military Appreciation Sponsor, Friday's event was one of many in the Washington, D.C., area that USAA and the Redskins have created to foster understanding and appreciation for the local military community.
"All of the organization salutes the military that gives us the freedoms to play the game of football," Allen said. "After today’s practice, I hope you get to meet each one of our players because we thank you for the freedoms, once again, that you give us. Thank you very much.”
Col. Brad Hoagland said the base "couldn't be prouder" to host the Redskins and knew that many of the players were raised with military backgrounds.
"I know there are a lot of fans out here rooting against the Cowboys, trying to get a big win this year and get started on the right foot," he said. "And then have someone like RGIII, who his parents served for our nation. For him to be able to come back out here again, it’s a personal touch, personal connection for our families.
Following the conclusion of the walkthrough, the players huddled together for their traditional post-practice talk and then headed over to the sidelines where they mingled with the servicemen and servicewomen, signing autographs, snapping selfies and exchanging stories of both playing for the team and rooting for them.
Rookie Jamison Crowder, who met a few fellow Duke alums, said the admiration football players and military share is a "give and take relationship."
“They go out there and risk their lives for us, for our freedom," he said. "And then in their down time they have NFL teams...obviously the Redskins they watch and support us. You appreciate the support they give us and you know, we greatly appreciate the things that they do for us.”
Defensive end Ricky Jean Francois, whose sister recently returned stateside, admitted that the practice session provided a little bit of lift to their spirits.
"It’s great to be out here, it’s a great feeling to have the day before the game," he said. "I wish we could have this feeling like this every Saturday before we go in lock up against another team."