The Washington Redskins have a pretty good starting running back in second-year man Alfred Morris, but head coach Mike Shanahan and general manager Bruce Allen let a rookie rusher hit the field for one play during practice on Tuesday, and nobody minded at all. The back in question was eight-year-old Lateef Brock, who was born with chronic kidney disease and had a kidney transplant last November. Through the Make-A-Wish Foundation and the Redskins Charitable Foundation, the pint-sized Redskins fan got a call from Shanahan, telling him that he had been drafted by his favorite team, and that he was to report to Redskins Park for Tuesday drills.
Brock said that he was up for the challenge, but he was also a tough negotiator. Before he would report, he wanted unlimited candy. The Redskins agreed. Scott Boras, you have met your match.
“Man, I need to renegotiate my contract,” Morris said. “I want candy.”
Brock got to hang out in the locker room with Morris and his teammates, got a few punting tips from Sav Rocca, tried on London Fletcher's very large helmet, and enjoyed a private passing tutorial with Robert Griffin III. And on the last play of practice, Brock hit the field, took a red-zone handoff from backup quarterback Rex Grossman, and eluded several Redskins defenders for a touchdown.
“We told him he was a first-round pick and that we would give him a play, but he’d have to make it into the end zone if he was going to make [the team],” Shanahan told the Washington Post. “He’s pretty quick, too. I asked Bruce if we could sign him to a two-year contract instead of [one day].”
It would be tough for Allen to prorate an unlimited candy bonus over two seasons, but according to Morris, the kid might be worth it.
“He said he was going to take my job,” Morris said. “I said, ‘Okay, but it’s not going to be easy. I’m not a pushover' ... He’s just the type of running back the NFL wants. One cut and get up field, and he did just that. He’s got some speed behind him, too.”
"I’m glad he came, and my heart does go out to him. He’s so young to deal with so much.”
Brock's time with the Redskins seemed to affect Griffin most of all, as he told Sarah Kogod of the Post.
“I feel blessed that he chose me to be the guy he came out to practice with and hung out with,” Griffin said. “I don’t have any kids, but a lot of the coaches do and they say that when you have a kid, you get more sensitive to things that happen with little children. It’s sad to see what he’s gone through, but I’m glad that we could make his day on this day.”
Brock's day with the Redskins will be featured in ESPN's "My Wish" series in August. At the end of practice, he was surrounded by cheering teammates, received an autographed football, and went home with a whole lot of memories.
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