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Redskins Head to Japan


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Redskins Head to Japan

Ashburn, Va. (AP) - Here's a tough one to swallow: The Washington Redskins players were told to drink 20 ounces of fluid per hour during their flight to Japan.

It's a 13-hour trip. That works out to 260 ounces per person.

"There'll be a line at the bathroom," tackle Jon Jansen said.

The Redskins were departing Wednesday for this weekend's American Bowl game in Osaka with a laundry list of suggestions from the training staff: Drink to avoid dehydration, walk down the aisles a lot, remove contact lenses, and don't be afraid to put on a pair of compression hose to keep the blood flowing in the legs.

Trainer Dean Kleinschmidt said one NFL player came back from an American Bowl in Japan two years ago with leg problems because he sat still the whole flight - and he missed most of the season.

"I want them up and walking around," Kleinschmidt said.

Tackle Chris Samuels, who traveled to Osaka earlier this year to promote the game, thinks the trainer's precautions are a bit too cautious.

"He's saying that, but I don't think I'm going to be able to do that because I'm going to be asleep most of the time," Samuels said.

The Redskins will play the San Francisco 49ers in the Osaka Dome on Sunday morning (Saturday night EDT), and it's a new experience for most everyone involved. The Redskins haven't played an American Bowl in 10 years, and about 50 of the 83 players didn't have passports until this trip.

"You're excited about going to Japan," receiver Rod Gardner said. "But you've got that 13-hour plane ride. That really takes away from it."

Some players and coaches are less than thrilled about the adventure. After all, anyone making out the ideal schedule for a training camp certainly wouldn't stick a trip to Asia in the middle of it.

"Sometimes you have to play the cards you're dealt," offensive line coach Kim Helton said. "The NFL makes those decisions. There's no question it sets you back preparation-wise. You're in the air for two days, so you lose two days and another day-and-a-half trying to recover."

Rookie coach Steve Spurrier has been more diplomatic, shrugging it off in his aw-shucks style. It's worth noting, however, that this is the same coach who wasn't thrilled about traveling 100 miles to Pennsylvania to hold training camp.

"We're going to make it a fun trip," Spurrier said. "We know we've got to go."

But he's not exactly planning to immerse himself in the experience.

"I'm not going to learn Japanese," Spurrier said. "I figure for three or four days I won't need to crowd my brain with too much stuff I won't need when I leave there."

Once in Japan, the battle of logistics begins. The Redskins have ordered one ton of ice per day to treat injuries, and they've asked the hotel to prepare an Americanized menu to suit 300-pound linemen.

"Portions is a problem," said Bubba Tyer, the team's special assistant for football operations. "The portions that they're used to eating, a little medallion of beef is a fillet. We want the American size portion."

Of course, the players will be able to experiment with the local cuisine and otherwise play tourist during their limited hours of free time. Some do plan to explore, while others will hunker down in the hotel.

"I'll probably see the inside of my hotel room, the inside of the bus and the stadium, and that's about it," Jansen said. "I don't want to get lost. I don't want to get left there."

Some players will follow the lead of their new teammate, Japanese receiver Akihito Amaya, who signed a 10-day contract to play in the game. However, Amaya's initial suggestion - a restaurant that serves octopus - hasn't won over many converts.

As for Samuels, he'd like to see some sumo wrestling - and maybe take defensive tackle Dan "Big Daddy" Wilkinson with him.

"The real Big Daddy over here looks like Little Daddy compared to those guys," Samuels said. "In our country, a guy that's 500 pounds, most women look at him like, 'That's disgusting.' But over there, they've got four or five women on each arm. I might move over there once I retire."

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One game is worth more than two days of practice. If Helton's philosophy rings true, then why do we even play the games? Perhaps the NFL season should be one long practice.

Anyway, it should be a good bonding experience for the team. And it's nice to have national coverage for your opening preaseason game. :cheers:

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