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Redskins Host Flag Football Clinic For Play 60

ArmstrongInside10Play60.jpg


When Anthony Armstrong gets a chance to play quarterback, you can bet he's going to throw deep.

He is a wide receiver, after all.

And it doesn't matter to him if the person on the receiving end of the pass is a middle school student.

On Tuesday at FedExField, Armstrong was the quarterback of a group of 11- and 12-year-olds in a PLAY 60 youth flag football clinic as part of the "Live Positively: Get the Ball Rolling" initiative sponsored by the Redskins Charitable Foundation and Coca-Cola.

Armstrong was joined by teammates Lorenzo Alexander, Kareem Moore and Brandon Banks at the clinic.

Wearing his familiar No. 13 burgundy jersey, Armstrong directed the boys and girls to go deep. He took the snap and dropped back to pass, his eyes scanning downfield. Toward the left sideline, Armstrong saw a boy was open near the goal line.

Armstrong threw deep. The boy leaped up and made the catch, and then turned around and raced into the end zone.

"Touchdown!" everyone yelled.

The Redskins' second-year wide receiver was on hand to drive the point home that exercise is essential to a healthy lifestyle.

"I was outside all the time when I was their age – riding bikes, playing football, baseball, skateboarding, rollerblading," Armstrong said. "You name it, we were doing something. Besides, my mom would say, 'Get out of the bed and go outside. You can't hang around here all day unless you're paying rent or paying bills. So I went outside."

The "Live Positively" initiative supported PLAY 60, the NFL program which encourages kids to make time for 60 minutes of exercise or some form of physical fitness every day.

More than 200 students from George Washington Middle School (Va.), Benjamin Stoddert Middle School (Md.), Howard University Middle School (D.C.) and Jefferson Middle School (D.C.) were invited to the flag football clinic.

Playing flag football felt like old times for Alexander, the Redskins' 6-1, 265-pound linebacker.

When Alexander was a boy growing up in Northern California, he would often go to a nearby park and play football with friends.

"California had a weight limit [to play in youth football leagues] and I was too big, so I found other ways to play football," he said. "Other times we would go to the playground and just play tag, too."

Where there's a will for exercise, there's a way.

"Living an active life is very important, especially in this world we live in with iPads and iPhones, Twitter and Facebook – that's what all of the kids want to do these days," Alexander said. "So to get them out, in a setting like this, and let them see how important exercise is to us, hopefully they take some of it in and become a little more active."

Following the flag football games, Redskins team nutritionist Jane Jakubczak talked to the participants about the importance of a balanced diet and making smart food choices.

Diet resonates with Alexander, too.

He dropped from a 315-pound defensive tackle to a 265-pound linebacker the last two years primarily by improving his diet.

"I've always worked out hard because I've had to, but I'd say 80-85 percent of it is just changing the way you eat," he said. "I don't eat fast food anymore. Once you cut that out, you see your body to start to change."

The "Live Positively: Get the Ball Rolling" campaign is a partnership between the Redskins, Coca-Cola and other Washington, D.C.-based sports teams including the Capitals, Nationals, Mystics and Wizards to combat childhood obesity in the Washington, D.C. region.

The D.C.-area alliance began last year with each team offering fitness clinics to area youth.

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