Hogettes With Pins

Have you ever wondered what the Hogettes keep in their purses? Neither had I.

In fact, I had never even thought about it, naively assuming that their purses were little more than props to help emphasize their femininity. At yesterday’s Toys For Tots event, I found out that I was sorely mistaken.

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“This is my pin collection,” said Hogette Howiette (who had shown me his custom Hogette shoes and socks at a previous event), holding up his button-encrusted bag. “These over here” — he indicated the right side of the above picture — “are military, where these are police and law enforcement. I trade for them.”
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Redskins Give Out Toys, Wear Seasonal Hats

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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.)

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Redskins Distribute Jackets

The reason I was in my car to hear Clinton Portis‘s pointed thoughts on Jim Zorn was because of Antwaan Randle El. Randle El, along with many of his teammates, and with the help of his El Foundation, the Redskins Charitable Foundation, and Dick’s Sporting Goods, spent today distributing winter coats to underserved children at two area schools — one in D.C., and one in Maryland.

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“This is something that we started in Pittsburgh,” Randle El said. “It’s cold in Pittsburgh, and coats seemed like an important thing. I think this is the third one we’ve done here. I’ve been so blessed by God, and I try to do what I can to be a blessing.”

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Wednesday, November 26: At the Harvest Feast

Photo by Ned Dishman

Photo by Ned Dishman

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.

cooleytruckWhat 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.”

Photo by Ned Dishman

Photo by Ned Dishman

Chris Cooley Spends Tuesday Being A Tour Guide

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I wasn’t sure if there would be a player’s day off this week. I’ve written before about the way the workweek can get reset here — “there’s a Monday night game, so Saturday is Friday” and that kind of thing — and, to account for the long trip westward, Coach Zorn has moved travel day to Friday. So for all I knew, Tuesday would transform into Wednesday to adjust.

Not the case, though. It’s the players’ day off as usual, and Chris Cooley spent a huge chunk of it leading tours through Redskins Park. The tours were just a small part of an event Cooley organized for women battling breast cancer.

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Wednesday, October 29: Redskins Make Kids Healthy

Seeing members of the Redskins working with kids in the community makes me realize just how much more effective elementary school education could be if the teachers were celebrities. Not just celebrities, but very large, very strong celebrities. With whistles. Even then, the kids don’t fully listen, but it certainly makes for some interesting visuals.

While Jason Campbell was reliving second grade yesterday, a few of his teammates were turning the tables on their gym class memories. Antwaan Randle El, Rocky McIntosh, and Leigh Torrence joined Andre Carter and his wife Bethany as they hosted the 1st Annual Carter Boot Camp to support the United Way of the National Capital Area‘s Child Wellness Initiative, and all four players seemed to relish being the ones blowing the whistles and giving instruction.

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Redskins Like Books

I’ve mentioned a few times now that we’re finally settling into the regular weekly NFL schedule, and what that means for Tuesdays is … not a whole lot, actually. Tuesday is the day off for players pretty much league-wide. No practice, no open locker room, nothing.

So today I went with Lorenzo Alexander, Fred Davis, and Leigh Torrence to Bailey’s Elementary School for the Arts & Sciences in Falls Church, VA, where they were helping to kick off the school’s literacy program by talking up reading.

What this meant in practice was that the guys talked to the school in two separate assemblies, then split up and each read to a different classroom.

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