In partnership with Special Olympics Virginia and Dreams for Kids DC, the Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation hosted a Flag Football event at the team's indoor practice facility on Sunday. The clinic provided nearly 100 athletes with one-on-one time to work on their football skills alongside several Redskins players, alumni and coaches.
The event also served as the flag football season kickoff for local chapters of Special Olympics VA and the annual flag football clinic for athletes from Dreams For Kids DC.
"Anytime you get to give back it's a great opportunity," tight end J.P. Holtz said. "We get to come in and work with these kids, and when they asked me to do it, I said yes right away. I try to give back as much as possible."
Sunday's event enabled athletes from across the region to put their skills to the test and learn the fundamentals of the game. Having professional players in the mix enabled the athletes to learn from those they see on television each week during the fall.
"Our athletes look forward to this event every year," said Veronica Jennings, senior director of the Potomac Region for Special Olympics VA. "They love to have the opportunity to interact in the community with volunteers and Washington Redskins players. They look up to athletes as role models, so to have the opportunity to interact with them 1-on-1 here is the highlight of their summer and most likely their year. They love to interact with professional athletes that they look up to and see on TV while they participate in the same sport."
Athletes were divided into red, blue, orange and green groups and led through throwing, catching, speed and agility drills with several Redskins: Holtz, rookie offensive lineman Wes Martin, defensive quality control coach Kyshoen Jarrett and former Washington linebackers Eddie Mason and Khary Campbell.
"It's awesome for the Washington Redskins, for the Charitable Foundation, Dreams for Kids DC and Special Olympics VA as well, being able to put on an event like this," Jarrett said. "It's great being out here and seeing all the smiles."
While the athletes receive the most benefit, the event affords players and coaches in attendance with a stress-free environment before kicking off the NFL season.
"It honestly is a big stress reliever," Jarrett said. "It's giving me fuel for training camp and for the season because it lets you know not to take the moments you're in for granted. These kids would probably do anything to play on a Sunday night under the lights. What these organizations are doing is allowing them to experience some of that by putting on these camps and clinics for them."