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Redskins To Send Game Ball to White House

Nov. 24, 1963 - The White House is getting a National Football League game ball to symbolize the deep feeling players in the league held for the late President Kennedy. The Washington Redskins are sending the White House the game ball from today’s 13-10 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles. “I don’t want to be morbid or corny, but I really feel our gang was playing for President Kennedy and his memory,” said Redskins’ coach Bill McPeak. Bobby Mitchell, star flanker of the Redskins, said he had met the late President at a White House reception. He said he has met President Lyndon Johnson “often” and is a “friend” of Robert Kennedy. “The last time I saw Bobby was two weeks ago. He picked me up at my house, and we went on visits to several schools in the district. We often did that. Many times my wife went, too,” Mitchell said. “So, you can see how this thing hit me. It was like a brother dying — or at least like the brother of your friend. I haven’t slept at all since the President was shot. That’s why I didn’t feel like playing, and I didn’t feel like it until they played taps with all of us lined up and then all the people sang The Star-Spangled Banner. After that, I felt better about playing.” As Mitchell indicated, prior to today’s game, the two teams formed in a semi-circle and the sellout crowd of 60,671 stood at attention as taps were bugled in memory of the late President. There was no band and no halftime program. Meanwhile, Pete Retzlaff, president of the NFL’s Players Association, said today that each member of the Philadelphia Eagles had contributed $50 toward a fund for the widow of J.D. Tippit, the Dallas policeman slain while trying to arrest Lee Harvey Oswald, the suspect in the murder of President Kennedy who was slain himself today. Retzlaff, an offensive end with the Eagles, said he hoped this would be the start of a fund contributed to by every player in the NFL. Retzlaff said President Johnson had expressed approval of the fund. Cliff Carter, one of the President’s aides, called Retzlaff to tell him the President wanted to join with the players in contributing to the fund.

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