The Washington Redskins on Wednesday hosted their 56th-annual Welcome Home Luncheon, benefitting the Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation & Alumni Association.
The Washington Redskins on Wednesday hosted the 56th annual Welcome Home Luncheon at the Hilton McLean Tysons Corner in McLean, Va.
The Welcome Home Luncheon is the largest fundraiser of the year and all of the proceeds support the efforts of the Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation (WRCF), which strives to make a positive and measurable impact in the lives of children in the Washington, D.C., area.
The event highlights the work the team does both in the community and on the field. It is the only event where fans and corporate partners alike get to spend time with the organization, including players, the coaching staff, cheerleaders and the alumni, among which were Joe Jacoby, Bobby Mitchell, Brian Mitchell, Brig Owens, Rick "Doc" Walker and Doug Williams.
Joining the Redskins at this year's Welcome Home Luncheon were Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe and NASCAR driver and diehard Redskins fan Dale Earnhardt Jr., who announced a partnership between the Dale Jr. Foundation and the Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation to create a state of the art library in a local Redskins Read elementary school to celebrate student achievement.
"I want to thank Dan [Snyder] for allowing me to be a part of that," Earnhardt Jr. said at the luncheon. "We're going to have boots on the ground. We're not just going to write a check. We're going to be in this together, helping to design this, helping to make the choices on this design."
"The kids are going to love it when it's done," Earnhardt Jr. continued. "They're going to have this library that's not just this boring place with a lot of books. It's going to be an interactive experience and it's going to encourage them to get in there and learn."
The team also announced annual award winners at the event, highlighting their on-field performances and contributions:
- Bobby Mitchell Offensive Player Of The Year: Quarterback Trent Williams (presented by alumnus Chris Samuels; sponsored by MGM)
- Sam Huff Defensive Player Of The Year: Linebacker Ryan Kerrigan (presented by Dexter Manley, sponsored by WashingtonFirst Bank)
- Mark Moseley Special Teams Player Of The Year: Returner Jamison Crowder (presented by Moseley, sponsored by Five Guys )
- Redskins Salute Award: Tight End Vernon Davis (presented by Lt. Col. Justin Constantine, sponsored by The GCO Consulting Group)
'This Is A Team Award'
For the second straight year, Cousins was named the team's Bobby Mitchell Offensive Player of the Year as he finished the 2016 season with nearly 5,000 passing yards along with 25 touchdowns to 12 interceptions.
In addition to being named NFC Offensive Player of the Month in November for the second time in his career, Cousins also became the first Redskins quarterback since 1999 to play in the Pro Bowl.
While there's always a spotlight on the quarterback positon, Cousins knows that it takes an entire team to succeed.
"When you look at that video, there was a receiver on end of every one of those passes, offensive line protecting. I think [head coach] Jay [Gruden] and [President] Bruce [Allen] know that I need talent around me to be successful and so they've done a really great job making sure I have it. With really good tight ends, a really good offensive line, really talented receivers and a great group of running backs that catch the football and pass protect, I'm very fortunate to play with the guys that I do."
"And understand guys, I'm talking to my teammates and the people in this room, the best way to help this Charitable Foundation as well is to go win football games. When we win football games, this city wins, the people in this room win, and the people we're trying to help win. So, let's all go win together this year, get to the playoffs and make something special happen."
An Award For Hard Work
Kerrigan is the definition of consistency.
Drafted by the Redskins in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft out of Purdue, Kerrigan has started the last 96 games. He's also recorded at least 7.5 sacks in all six of his seasons.
The 2016 season, though, was one of Kerrigan's best yet as he one again paced the defensive unit with 11 sacks – the second-highest total of his career – along with two passes defensed and two fumbles forced.
But while Kerrigan was once again a quiet leader, he credited his coaches and fellow outside linebackers for the award.
"I want to thank my coaches and teammates for making this possible," Kerrigan said. "I think this award is a representation of how we performed as outside linebackers last year.
A Breakout Sophomore Season In The Return Game
Drafted by the Redskins in the fourth round of the 2015 NFL Draft, Crowder gave the Redskins solid contributions on offense his rookie year. He recorded 59 receptions for 604 yards and two touchdowns.
But the electric college returner struggled on special teams, averaging just 5.3 yards on 30 punt returns.
Seeking overall improvement, Crowder bounced back in a big way during the 2016 season. In total, he averaged 12.1 yards on his 27 punt returns, highlighted by an 85-yard score against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 5.
In total, Crowder recorded four punt returns of 20 yards or longer while having the best punt return average among members of the Redskins since 2001.
Crowder was also named a Pro Bowl alternate.
"First and foremost, I'd like to thank God," Crowder said. "Without Him, I wouldn't be in this position. I'd like to thank Mr. Dan Snyder, Mr. Bruce Allen, Coach Gruden for trusting and believing in me to be a part of this great organization. And I would like to thank my teammates out there, because without those other 10 guys, me being able to make plays on the special teams phase of the game wouldn't be possible. So thank you."