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The two year anniversary of my interview with Bruce Allen and the Washington Redskins

I will never forget the message my wife Samantha sent me when I sent her this selfie, after landing at Reagan National Airport in Washington D.C. 

“Your smile says it all,” she said. 

She was so right… It was the fulfillment of a lifelong dream. I was getting the chance to interview with my favorite team growing up, the Washington Redskins. I was also getting the chance to be a part of the team’s Alumni weekend. 

I was feeling so much. This was the moment I had been waiting for. Samantha had bought me a bunch of new Redskins shirts, sweatshirts and hats for the trip. 

The taxi-cab pulled up to the Gaylord National Convention Center. There was piano music playing in the hotel lobby as I made my way up to the front desk, “Hello, I am here to check in.” The attendant asked, “What is your name please?” I responded, “Daniel Kelly with the Washington Redskins.”  

At a table by check-in, team personnel handed me a packet with my name on it and this really nice Redskins Alumni jacket. 

I called my wife and told her about everything. I said, “This is really like one of those Make-A-Wish things, only I am not dying.” 

The team had rented out this BBQ restaurant that evening. I walked in and immediately began recognizing the faces of many of my heroes. 

I spent time talking with Doc Walker, Gary Clark and Ricky Sanders. Joe Jacoby, Monte Coleman, and my favorite quarterback of all-time, Jay Schroeder. I said to Schroeder, “Nobody ever threw the ball harder than you,” He replied with a slight chuckle, “Maybe that was part of the problem.” I also spent time talking with Super Bowl XXII star running back Timmy Smith. I said, “Timmy, I will never forget the game you had that day.” Smith replied smiling and with a hearty laugh, “Neither will I, I was there!” I even got the chance to talk with the MVP of that Super Bowl, Doug Williams. 

#88 Doc Walker
#84 Gary Clark
#83 Ricky Sanders
#66 Joe Jacoby
#76 Ed Simmons
#51 Monte Coleman
#10 Jay Schroeder
#17 Doug Williams
#36 Timmy Smith
#30 Brian Mitchell

I spotted Team President, Bruce Allen. He was the one who invited me out for this incredible event and to meet with me. Our eyes met and threw his arms around me like we were long lost brothers, “Dan! Welcome buddy, it is so good to finally get a chance to meet you – welcome!” 

Allen met with me the following day for an hour and a half in his hotel suite. By this time we had developed a strong rapport and I felt really comfortable around him. Allen said, “I just don’t know what I should do with you!” I replied with a laugh, “Hire me!” Allen smiled, “I know…I know. I just don’t know where to put you. Maybe a position in coaching or maybe in scouting.” He said, “One thing I know for sure is great things will happen for somebody who has as much passion as you do!” 

That evening my friend Charlie Brown took me out to dinner. Brown was a legendary receiver for the team back in the 1980’s. We caught up and talked about football and about God. Charlie has always been extremely good to me. 

#87 Charlie Brown

The following morning I arrived at the Alumni Team breakfast. Immediately, I spotted Hall of Famer Sonny Jurgensen. I also got the chance to meet with the greatest GM in NFL history, former Redskins GM Bobby Beathard.

#9 Sonny Jorgensen
GM Bobby Beathard

I rode on one of the team buses to the stadium and was given a full stadium access wristband. I walked around underneath the stadium and saw the film crew from Fox Sports and the Redskins marching band warming up. All the best players from each decade were gathering to go out onto the field prior to kickoff to be honored. I grew up in the 80’s loving the Redskins, but this was just something for the players. I asked my friend Charlie Brown what I should do and where I should wait. Charlie looked at me and said, “You’re going out with us!” 

I’m sorry…I had to stop writing for a moment. This is just really emotional for me. 

There I was standing in the tunnel waiting to go out onto the field next to Charlie Brown, Gary Clark, Ricky Sanders, Joe Jacoby, Jay Schroeder and Timmy Smith. It was surreal…

The guys all made me feel like I was part of the team! Timmy Smith looked down at my new Jordan’s and asked me if I was sure I wanted to wear those out onto the field in the rain. I said, yeah and we both had a laugh together. 

I heard a voice say, “Okay it’s time.” Two cheerleaders led the way holding a banner. I felt the rain begin to pelt against the brim of my Redskins hat as we walked out of the tunnel together. We walked through the endzone and out to midfield. The stadium public address announcer’s voice said, “The Greats of the 80’s,” and we all stepped forward.

Stadium security then showed me up to the luxury box, where I watched the game. The Redskins lost to the 49ers, but none-the-less, my three day trip had been like three straight days of Christmas. 

Daniel Kelly is a former NFL scout with the New York Jets. He was hired on the regime which featured Bill Parcells, Bill Belichick, Scott Pioli, Mike Tannenbaum, and Dick Haley. He currently writes for Sports Illustrated Detroit Lions and he is a contributing evaluator for Draft Diamonds. For more information about him visit his website at whateverittakesbook.com. He can be followed on Twitter @danielkellybook and his Facebook page is WHATEVER IT TAKES NFL TALK. 

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