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Ready for Football? HOF Weekend Is Here

It has been called "Football's Greatest Weekend"--and this year the Washington Redskins are a part of it.

The Redskins, of course, will help launch the new NFL season on Aug. 9 in the annual Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio. Joe Gibbs will return to the sidelines in a nationally televised Monday Night Football game against the Denver Broncos at 8 p.m. ET.

Gibbs becomes the second Hall of Fame member to coach a team in the Hall of Fame Game. The other was Paul Brown with Cincinnati in 1975.

This will be Washington's fourth appearance in the Hall of Fame Game. The Redskins are undefeated in Canton, having beaten Detroit 20-3 in 1965, Cincinnati 17-9 in 1975 and Buffalo 31-6 in 1989.

It will also be the first time Washington and Denver will have faced each other since the blockbuster trade last March between the two teams. The Redskins sent Pro Bowl cornerback Champ Bailey and a second-round draft pick to Denver in exchange for Pro Bowl running back Clinton Portis.

For Canton, the weekend has evolved into a community celebration of sorts. The Pro Football Hall of Fame estimates that more than 700,000 people will join in on the events, which start July 30 and include parades, luncheons and enshrinement of the Class of 2004.

The enshrinement will take place at Fawcett Stadium on Sunday, Aug. 8, at 1 p.m. Denver quarterback John Elway, Detroit running back Barry Sanders, Minnesota/Seattle defensive end Carl Eller and Philadelphia/Los Angeles Rams/Oakland offensive lineman Bob Brown were inducted into the Hall last January.

Their enshrinement will bring the Hall of Fame membership to 225. Redskins in the Hall of Fame.

Some of the notable events of the Hall of Fame Weekend in Canton:

First Play 2004, Friday, Aug. 6, 10 a.m.: More than 200,000 youngsters will line the streets of Canton to participate in First Play 2004. Beginning at the downtown site where the NFL was founded in 1920, the youngsters will "pass" an official football along a two-mile route to the Hall of Fame.

Hoover Company Grand Parade, Saturday, Aug. 7, 7:30 a.m.: Giant helium balloons, floats, marching bands and antique cars attract more than 225,000 spectators to downtown Canton. Fans cheer on the 2004 Class of Enshrinees and returning Hall of Famers.

Concert & Fireworks, Sunday, Aug. 8, 7 p.m.: Downtown Canton is the host of a concert, face painting for kids, plenty of food and drinks to go around and a fireworks display choreographed to music.

Enshrinees GameDay Roundtable, Monday, Aug. 9, 12 noon: An enthusiastic crowd of fans will enjoy lunch, followed by the current class of enshrines moving to center stage to share personal stories and memories of game highlights in an up-close-and-personal roundtable format at the Memorial Civic Center and Cultural Center.

For a complete listing of events, visit the Pro Football Hall of Fame web site.

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