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Holidays Offer Players Community Perspective

Posted Dec 11, 2012

As players take advantage of opportunities to give back this holiday season, the greatest gift is found in the perspective that players gain on family and community.

For most people, the holiday season is joyous time, filled with football, food and family. 

It is also a great time for charity around Redskins Park, as players give time, money and gifts to those that are less fortunate in the greater Washington, D.C. community.

In exchange, they receive smiles, hugs and the most important gift of all: perspective. At Monday night's 'Christmas With The Redskins' sponsored by Darrell Green's Youth Life Foundation, perspective and family were common themes.

"This is a a great opportunity, and it's really rewarding to give back to all these kids," offensive guard Chris Chester said.  "We were all there at some point, and I'm just glad I can do my part to help."

The annual holiday party for underserved youth is now in its 23rd year, as current and former players continue to join forces with Green to boost the holiday spirit for 150 children.

But for Green, giving has always been the best way to receive.

"This is the greatest thing you could ever do on a given night: serving young people," Green said.  "It doesn't get any sweeter than this. We're going to go home happy because these kids give us so much."

Green goes to Redskins Park every fall, looking for volunteers to sponsor a child with winter clothes and presents.  Most players, like running back Alfred Morris, sponsor more than one, and enjoy a night of food, games, music and presents.

For Morris, it wasn't that long ago that he could personally identify with how these kids feel.

"I'm really big on giving back. Just like Chester said, I was once in their shoes as well," he said.  "It just formed and shaped my heart to always give back.

"These kids are awesome and they feel like family already."

Veteran players like Barry Cofield and DeAngelo Hall have been involved with this event for several years, and say that Green's enthusiasm and star-power help attract current players to his good cause.

"This is a great event every year. It's great to spend time with the kids, and the Darrell Green Young Life Foundation is a great foundation," Cofield said.  "It's the Christmas season and this is the time for giving, and it's the time to be happy and smiling.

"We've got a great group of kids. They're all Redskins fans and are proud of the team."

Said Hall: "Darrell Green is just a man's man; the guy that you aspire to be like. My wife is here with me, and any time he has this event we try to come out and be supportive. We're all about it."

Green deflected the praise, crediting the selfless culture of the Redskins, and expressing great hope for the future.

"This is not the Darrell Green Show; this is not about me," Green said with a chuckle. "I'm just a guy that had an idea. This is really about all of us. This is a new era of the Redskins.

"People talk about 'Oh, we're back.' When we're back, we're back in our community and we're back on the field. That's the Redskins I know, and that's what we've got.  I'm really grateful for these guys."

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