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Raiders bring Play 60 to youth of England

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Levi Damien

Each week the Raiders players get together to help teach kids about the importance of getting out and being active. It's part of the NFL Play 60 initiative. That is typically exclusive to schools across the United States. This week they spread that message to a whole new group of kids halfway across the world.

The Raiders are in England all this week preparing for their week four match-up with the Miami Dolphins at Wembley Stadium. But before they hit the practice field, they participated in some more lighthearted games.

The group of some 10 Raiders players showed up including Khalil Mack, Justin Tuck, Marcel Reece, Darren McFadden, Usama Young, Miles Burris, Austin Howard, Andre Holmes, and Lamar Mady. They were accompanied by several members of the Raiderettes and the Raiders kids mascot, Raider Rusher.

As the players arrived, the anxious group of kids burst into cheers. An even bigger cheer came when the Raider Rusher showed up. These kids who live in a country dominated by soccer (aka football) very clearly recognized their Raiders mascot; proof the NFL and Raiders brand is very much prevalent across the pond.

"The NFL product is very strong and they really set their mind to bringing the experience here," said Justin Tuck. "They've seen the difference in seven or eight years now.

"[England's] sport is more soccer and rugby but it's a lot of kids out there running around fast, very instinctive too," I'm hoping the NFL can get a bigger presence here in the UK."

For young players like Khalil Mack, they remember how important it was to them to get outside and be active. "Four, five, six, out there playing football in the road," said Mack. "It's fun"

"That's the reason that we're here right now is because we had people in our lives that taught us at a young age, if you're willing to do something, you have to do it the right way," Tuck continued. "It's important what you put in your body and getting out and being active.

"Sometimes kids just get in front of the TV, the playstation, and X-Box and things like that," Tuck continued. "They need to get kids out active. It helps with their immune system, fighting obesity."

The kids had a great time playing flag football (which more closely resembled rugby), running through obstacle courses with the Raiders. And in the process, the team may have endeared themselves to a whole new generation of fans.