RICHMOND — The sun was relentless, the humidity oppressive. And yet hundreds of fans stood for hours in the heat watching the final Redskins training camp practice open to the public this summer.
Ricky Jean Francois finished his primary job as a Washington defensive end on Sunday afternoon. Then he headed for his newest, temporary gig: Snow cone dispenser. For the second year in a row, Francois paid for over 1,000 vouchers so that any child who wanted one could get a free snow cone. He even jumped inside the Kona truck while still wearing his football gear and served them himself for 45 minutes.
“I got to do today because [Saturday] – man that was brutal,” Francois said. “And today I need to give all the kids ice cream. But I’m also telling all the kids I’m not responsible if you can’t make it from that truck back to where you is and it melt. I can’t do nothing for you. It’s just that hot out here.”
Temperatures on Sunday in Richmond reached 98 degrees with a dew point of 75 that gave the practice a tropical feel and had patrons guzzling water and seeking shelter inside tents with fans and water misters.
The Redskins have one more practice in Richmond on Monday, but it’s only open to camp volunteers. Francois, himself drenched in sweat from the heat after a nearly two-hour practice, immediately walked over to a Kona Ice truck parked beyond the far end zone at the Bon Secours Training Center and went to work.
Francois even autographed the voucher slips for any kid who asked and made an age exception for teammate Corey Crawford, a fellow defensive end who, at 24, was a little older than the average customer. Everyone walked away happy.
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