- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 31, 2016

An inside joke was in plain view at the Redskins’ “Welcome Home Luncheon,” draped across the stars of the program.

Each Redskins player who attended wore a Tommy Bahama shirt in a blue or red pastel, resulting in a procession of relaxed sartorial splendor that even caught the attention of team owner Dan Snyder, who commented on the shirts when it was his turn to speak.

The reason for the loose-fitting garb is Paul Kelly, who officially is the Redskins’ director of football operations. That’s a nice way of saying he plans and fixes a long list of things for players and other staff. He also happens to travel in Tommy Bahama shirts.

“We say P.K. is a man around the building who wears many hats but only one shirt,” Kirk Cousins said. “We wore the shirts to honor him and make it P.K. Day. So we told everybody, ‘It’s P.K. Day, celebrate responsibly.’”

The gesture was in line with the light mood at the 55th annual luncheon, which serves as a fund-raiser for the team’s charitable foundation and an awards ceremony. Cousins was named the offensive player of the year, defensive lineman Chris Baker the defensive player of the year and place kicker Dustin Hopkins the special teams player of the year. Former player Derrick Dockery was the Redskins Salute winner on behalf of his work with the military. Linebacker Ryan Kerrigan was named Walter Payton Man of the Year for his work in the community.

The luncheon began when a trumpeter played the team’s fight song, “Hail to the Redskins”. Not long after, politics seeped into the conversation when Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe continued his blatant stumping for the next Redskins’ stadium to be built in Virginia. The Redskins currently play at FedEx Field in Landover. Their lease expires in 2027, but since Snyder suggested last summer that the team may look to construct a new stadium, McAuliffe has been publicly waving his arms.

“A majority of the folks who go to the games, season-ticket holders, are from where? The Commonwealth of Virginia,” McAuliffe said. “Sixty-six percent of the revenue to the Redskins comes from where? Residents of the Commonwealth of Virginia. Every player lives where? The Commonwealth of Virginia. Are you kidding me? I want to thank the Redskins for being such a great economic driver. We have your headquarters, we have your training facility. What else could there possibly be?”

The Redskins said 600 people attended. Many players did not. A tropical storm off the coast of Florida caused the team’s final preseason game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to be moved from Thursday to Wednesday night. Starters do not typically play in the fourth preseason game, but usually attend. Thanks to this unique circumstance, “P.K. Day” will continue into the night when many of the players gather at the facility watch the game on television.

“My first Redskins game on TV that I’ll see in a long time,” Cousins said.

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