The Washington Redskins expect today’s season opener against the New York Giants to be a day filled with emotion. Multiple 9/11 tributes are planned for the day.
Retired general Colin Powell will serve as honorary captain for the Redskins during the pre-game coin toss, and 150 family members of victims from the attacks on the Pentagon – most of whom attended the Redskins’ practice on Friday as guests of honor -- will be among those stretching a giant flag across the field during the national anthem.
“It’s going to be a real special day,” Redskins linebacker London Fletcher said. “All the 9/11 tributes planned, Colin Powell, the family members. Ne-yo’s singing the National Anthem. It’s going to be special to be a part of it.”
All the Redskins had memories of where they were at the time of the terrorist attacks on New York City and the Pentagon 10 years ago today.
“You think back where you were that day or the day before,” Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said. “I was playing a Monday night game against the Giants and went to work the next day and I believe the Giants, when they came in, they were right next to the gate where one of the planes was taking off. It is a very emotional day for a lot of people.”
Said linebacker London Fletcher: “I definitely remember it, rememeber the feeling of disbelief of what was going on. I was playing back in St. Louis then. It was a Tuesday off-day then, so I was looking at the news. To see the planes going into the World Trade Center, it was definitely disbelief.”
Rookie linebacker Ryan Kerrigan said, “I remember I was sitting in my seventh-grade social studies class when I found out. It really is one of those things where you don’t forget where you were.”
Redskins defensive coordinator Jim Haslett was the head coach of the New Orleans Saints at the time, and was gameplanning for the coming week’s game against the San Francisco 49ers at the time of the attacks.
“I was kind of watchign the TV, they showed the tower, then they showed the second,” Haslett recalled. “I was telling the coaching staff, plane ran into -- you know, the whole thing.”
The NFL ended up postponing its Week 2 games, and Sept. 30 ended up being the next time the Saints played. “The next week, we had to play the Giants up in new york. It was a heck of a sight. We didn’t have a chance to win the game. It was the most emotional I’ve ever seen a football game. We were the visiting team, and we didn’t have a chance.”
The Giants beat the Saints 21-13.