Sometimes “day off for the players” is a really inaccurate description of Tuesdays. Yesterday, for example, for the last Tuesday before Thanksgiving, the Redskins (partnered with Harris Teeter, Ryan Homes, and Operation Blessing) to distribute thousands of turkeys and bags of other Thanksgiving food to area residents in need. That’s the official description.
What it means in practice is that dozens of Redskins players, including Fred Smoot, Jason Taylor, Chris Cooley, Rocky McIntosh, Lorenzo Alexander, Shaun Suisham, and countless others, stood in the main concourse of FedExField for two hours. They handed out bag after bag of food, posed for pictures, and signed autographs for the enormous masses of people who came out to receive the food. Not exactly what the phrase “day off” conjures.
Cooley didn’t stand there for the full two hours, but only because he helped to load a FedEx Special Delivery truck with food and traveled with it to a nearby shelter, where he did pretty much the same thing his teammates were doing at FedEx.
Here’s what a walk down the concourse looked like just as the first group of people was being allowed in.
And here, just to give you a sense, are Jason Taylor and Fred Smoot, after the crowd had grown a bit.
It was another one of those humbling events, albeit in a slightly different way from the others I’ve attended. “It’s sobering seeing all these people out here that need the help,” Taylor told me, “but it’s an honor and a privilege to be here and help put a smile on their face. This is way bigger than anything I’ve seen as far as these giveaways. A lot of teams do it, but this by far the biggest one I’ve seen.”
Malcolm Kelly echoed the sentiments. “I always like to give back to people, especially because I’ve been blessed with so much. To be able to give back means a whole lot.”