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Redskins Alumni Reconnect At Mini-Camp

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When Bruce Allen was named Redskins general manager on Dec. 17, one of his top priorities was to rebuild a bridge to the franchise's glorious past.

Consider the bridge rebuilt.

On Thursday at Redskins Park, Allen invited Redskins alumni to watch mini-camp and spend time with each other and with current players at a luncheon after practice.

More than 60 alumni were on hand, including Hall of Famers Charley Taylor, Bobby Mitchell, Art Monk and Sam Huff.

Others in attendance included Mark Moseley, Pat Fischer, Mike Nelms, Brig Owens, Darryl Pounds, Larry Brown, Neal Olkewicz, Ken Harvey, Raleigh McKenzie, George Starke, Bill Brundige and Darryl Grant.

"This is a great day for the Washington Redskins," Allen said. "It's a special time to bring back not only the legends of the game but also some of the architects of the Washington Redskins that our fans have loved over the decades. You get to see that they are great people and it's wonderful to have them here."

As practice got underway around 10:30 a.m., alumni gathered on the Astroturf field at Redskins Park to watch.

On one side of the field, McKenzie's eyes followed the current crop of offensive linemen as they went through drills. He recalled practicing on the same field 16 years ago.

Twenty yards away, Mitchell, Taylor and Owens sat down in folding chairs to reminisce of the old days as practice. Bubba Tyer, the Redskins' long-time athletic trainer, wandered by and sprayed them with water, drawing laughter.

On the opposite side of the field, Monk held court with reporters.

He said it was important for current players to get to know the alumni and appreciate the franchise's legacy.

"I think it's important for them to realize what they have and not take it for granted," Monk said. "I know when I came in with the 'Over the Hill Gang,' they would tell me stories about their past...I know it was important for me and it's important for them to have that as well."

Added Harvey: "It's definitely a plus to see all these great players -- even the athletic trainers. And to have it all together, all at once, it's a dream for a fan, and I'm a former player and a fan. I respect these guys. I see these guys all the time and I know what everyone had to go through to get here."

Meantime, McKenzie greeted Redskins punter Josh Bidwell on the sidelines.

The two were teammates in Green Bay in 1999-2000. McKenzie was wrapping up a 16-year career while Bidwell was just getting started as an NFL punter.

"He was a young stud, and now he's just an old stud," McKenzie laughed. "He was just telling me, 'I'm all grown up now.' He's come full circle. He's a great kid."

Allen said it was "the right thing to do" to reach out to former Redskins players who may have felt a disconnect with the organization in recent years.

"We owe them a great debt of gratitude for their accomplishments for building this game," Allen said. "Not just the three Super Bowl trophies, but the way they have represented themselves in the burgundy and gold. I think they're going to give great lessons for our current players to follow. We're fortunate that we have such great alumni."

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