As the Washington Redskins entered the team's indoor training facilty at the Inova Sports Performance Center at Redskins Park in Loudoun County, Va., Thursday, there were special guests awaiting at midfield.
Lined up in two rows of five on the Redskins' logo at the 50-yard line were 10 young men and women waiting to be sworn into the United States Army. All of the Redskins coaches and players gathered to watch as Deputy The Inspector General, Leslie Smith, of the U.S. Army swore in the future soldiers.
"It makes me feel very proud," Maj. Gen. Smith said. "The Redskins, showing the time to come out and do this for our folks means a lot to them, but also shows how much they're dedicated to the service of our young men and women. It gives them a chance to see that the nation cares about what they do and it's a big deal."
Along with those being sworn in, a handful of officers joined Smith on the sidelines to watch the Redskins walkthrough practice in preparation for Friday's preseason game against the New York Jets. Included in those officers was Andrew Cavanaugh, the son of Redskins quarterbacks coach Matt Cavanaugh.
Following practice, members of the Redskins met their visitors from the Army, taking pictures and signing autographs before heading to the locker room.
"We're trying to bring young men and women into the military just as the team is trying to bring young men to form the Redskins way like we form the Army way," Smith said.
Smith made his way all around the practice field, also interacting with high school football coaches on hand for the Washington Redskins High School Coaches Clinic. Smith made sure he asked for the name of each Redskins player he met after practice.
"Just because I've been in the Army 30 years doesn't mean that I'm better than you. That just means I've got more time in the saddle," Smith said with a smile.