Despite the down mood around Redskins Park after Sunday’s catastrophic loss — and make no mistake, the mood is just as down as you’d want it to be after that — and despite the fact that it’s Tuesday, a day off, there are still commitments for players to uphold.
For some players, that meant media. Jason Campbell, for example, made his usual radio appearance on ESPN980’s The Locker Room with Doc Walker and Kevin Sheehan, but was so subdued that Sheehan felt the need to discuss it after the fact.
For other players, though, it meant community events, and today Lorenzo Alexander, Chad Rinehart, Matt Sinclair, and Isaiah Ross acted as Santa’s elves at FedExField during the Skins Santa Shoppe in the Redskins’ locker room. The Redskins Charitable Foundation joined forces with the U.S. Marine Corps Toys for Tots program to give toys to more than 1,000 area kids from more than 25 area schools and community groups.
(One important note, before I go on: the local Toys For Tots program still desperately needs more toys to provide to needy children in the community for Christmas. If you can spare a new, unwrapped toy, there are drop-off centers at all the Redskins stores, or you can find a drop-off location online. Or, the program coordinator at the event told me, they might even be able to pick it up from you. They’ll be collecting toys until Christmas, and I can tell you from my own observations today just how happy these toys make kids.)
Anyhow, the players were helping the kids select toys, they were shaking hands and signing autographs, and just generally elevating the whole experience into a capital-E Event for the kids. And to do that, Alexander and Sinclair happily put on festive seasonal Redskins hats.
Ross and Rinehart, however, were hatless. “It was cutting off circulation to my head,” Ross said. “I wanted to wear it, but I would’ve passed out right here.”
Rinehart tried to offer a similar excuse, but Alexander wasn’t buying it. “You’re not wearing the hat because you know that Randy [Thomas] would make fun of you,” Alexander said.
One thing Rinehart was enthused about was the assortment of Tonka trucks available for the kids to select. “These were my favorites when I was a kid,” he said, “but I also liked anything that made noise.”
Alexander had a more specific favorite Christmas present. “When I was a kid, I wanted a Transformer — the big one, where the five guys made the big guy,” he said.
Constructicons, I suggested. (As has previously been mentioned on this blog, they formed Devastator.)
“Right, Devastator,” he said, telling a story about as old as Christmas itself. “I asked for them and asked for them, and my mom wouldn’t get them for me. In the end, though, my grandad came through, and I loved those toys right up until I broke them on my bunkbed.”
Nothing on the tables brought childhood memories to my mind, but I did wonder briefly if Cheer Bear the Care Bear would lighten the mood at Redskins Park.
Somehow, I don’t think he’s got quite enough juice — I’m not sure that all the Care Bears and the Care Bear Stare could make up for that loss.
For a few hours today, though, t’was the season to be jolly, even for a few of the Redskins. Isaiah Ross even got a hug from Santa.