In his first community appearance as head coach of the Washington Redskins, Jay Gruden told the teenagers seated at the front of the room they made him proud, but their work was not finished.
Executive Vice President/General Manager Bruce Allen and Gruden surprised the honorees Saturday night at the Pigskins Club 75th Anniversary Awards Dinner at Howard University.
Gruden and Allen each addressed the crowd before personally congratulating each member of the 2013 High School All-Metropolitan Football Team.
“Understand this: it doesn’t stop now,” Gruden said from the dais.
“It’s going to get harder for you. You go to the next level at college; it’s going to get harder. You gotta prepare yourself, you gotta work harder, you gotta study harder. Everything you gotta do better than you have already. But what a great tribute to you guys. I’m proud of you.”
Allen took the podium to compliment the athletes in attendance and introduce the city to its new head coach.
“I know some of you might have noticed our team didn’t do very well last year,” Allen said.
“We hired a new coach. We hired a coach who understood what football meant from the basics, who’s worked in several different leagues… I wanted his first event in Washington D.C. to be here with Lucille Hester.”
Hester, the president of the Pigskins Club, has known Allen since he was a child. She was friends with Allen’s father, Hall-of-Fame Redskins coach George Allen, and has chaperoned young athletes to training camps in Carlisle, Pa., Frostburg, Md., Loudoun County, Va., and Richmond, Va.
Allen said Hester asked him to bring Gruden to the event, and he’s never said no to her. D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray was also in attendance.
“Can you imagine when you think people are untouchable, and they are touchable, and they reach out to you?” Hester said. “It warms your heart.”
The Pigskins Club recognized charitable efforts by wide receiver Joshua Morgan and cornerback Josh Wilson with the John W. Posey Awards for outstanding professional athletes in the area.
Upon accepting the award, Morgan told the high schoolers to “dream bigger.”
“Do better than us,” Morgan said. “Our egos are not that big. We want to beat y’all if we play against y’all, but as we watch y’all grow, we want to see you do better than us.”
Tags: bruce allen, Jay Gruden, Pigskins Club
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