- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 11, 2011

It’s unfair to characterize Redskins coach Mike Shanahan as cold, but he doesn’t often let members of the media see his emotional response to things. That was the case until Sunday’s pregame ceremony honoring the victims of 9/11.

“It brought tears to your eyes just being down there,” he said. “It was quite emotional.”

All around the league, a video clip narrated by Robert De Niro was shown as a tribute to victims of the terrorist attacks at the Pentagon, World Trade Center and Flight 93, which crashed in Shanksville, Pa. The tribute at FedEx Field naturally had a local feel, including video clips from the Pentagon ceremony earlier Sunday that involved Nathan Clark playing taps — to the chilling sound of fans cheering and waving flags.

Loud chants of “U-S-A!” came from the 80,121 in attendance when former Secretary of State Colin Powell walked onto the field and out to the 50-yard line as the Redskins’ honorary captain.

“You could feel the passion, the energy, the emotion just before the game with the flag — and just meeting Colin Powell in the locker room and just all that stuff for all that it was worth,” running back Tim Hightower said.

Probably more than any other team, the Giants in 2001 took the attacks to heart, with the team able to see the twin towers from their practice field. Coach Tom Coughlin wore hats honoring the New York police and fire departments, but New York’s coach admitted the results weren’t what he wanted.

“We knew the significance of the day, and we wanted to pay our respects by the way in which we played,” Coughlin said.

On the other side, the Redskins did that — and soaked up the pregame atmosphere.

“I was overwhelmed,” quarterback Rex Grossman said. “It was fun day. It was a day I’ll never forget.”