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Redskins Distribute (And Discuss) Coats

Posted by Matt Terl on December 15, 2009 – 11:02 am

It’s the holiday season, so I’ll be heading out to a Santa-themed charitable event at FedExField today. But Antwaan Randle El was ahead of that curve: on Friday, his El Foundation partnered with the Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation to hold his “Randle El Warms Up Washington’s Youth” event at a local Macy’s, giving away 300 coats to underserved area youth alongside a bunch of his teammates.

December in this area isn’t all holiday cheer; we all know how bitterly cold it can get. So the gift of winter coats is a valuable one, something Randle El understands. “They certainly deserve these coats and need these coats,” he said Friday. “And it’s a good thing. It not only warms their bodies with the coats, it warms their hearts too knowing that somebody is thinking of them.”

But we all know that — even for kids who need them — coats are about more than just warmth. There are all sorts of style and status implications of a new coat, or at least there were back in the day.

“My favorite coat growing up was the Starter coat,” Randle El said. “I never had a Starter coat, but that was the coat I wanted. I would’ve wanted the Chicago Bears Starter coat. I never got one, but that’s the one I would want.”

He wasn’t the only one who had that response.

“Back in the day,” Lorenzo Alexander said, “when I was this age, I’d be looking for a Starter coat. Everybody wanted one, so probably a big Starter coat. Even though I wasn’t a Raiders fan, the Raiders one was pretty hot. I liked the way they looked with that black and silver. I was a Niners fan growing up, but those colors just didn’t look fly. That black and silver looked tough. You could wear it with a lot of different things. You were only going to get one coat, so you had to make sure it worked for everything.”

London Fletcher didn’t have a Starter jacket, but, he says, “I had something similar to a Starter jacket. It was this other type of jacket that was similar to the Starter. I had a Missouri Tigers one. It was sweet, but it got stolen. I only had it like two or three weeks. I was in high school when it happened. I was on a school bus and I put the jacket up top, and somebody took it. I had bought it with my money from my summer job.”

Fletcher was the only who mentioned a coat from Triple F.A.T Goose. “I got one of those,” he said. “That was a big deal for me. They had different sizes, but they were really long. People in my era would know. I was pretty popular when I got that Goose.” (Speaking of London Fletcher’s popularity, have you cast your Pro Bowl vote for him today?)

These days, Randle El — a stylish guy — claims to be less focused on choosing particularly popular brands for his outerwear. “I would have some kind of casual peacoat, probably a dark blue, dark brown, maybe a black. Something that’s got some style to it, but at the same time, keeps me warm. That’s what I care about.”

Well, that and keeping other people warm as well. “I’m going to be honest,” Randle El said, between chatting with the kids and making sure their new coats fit, “Christmas for me is every day. God has given me this gift of life to be able to be here and I just try to open it up and live for him every day.”

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