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Posted on: April 3, 2019

NFL to Honor Rock Island as One of Its 'Original Towns'

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Rock Island will host a live hometown event to announce a 2019 NFL Draft pick. The community is invited to join in the celebration on April 27th at the Austin E. Knowlton Athletic Complex at Augustana College.

Nearly 100 years after the National Football League was born in Canton, Ohio, the NFL is celebrating the 13 communities, including Rock Island, that were home to the 14 teams of its inaugural season. The initiative is part of ‘NFL100’, a year-long commemoration of its centennial season bringing together generations of football fans, players, communities and all 32 clubs for a unique line-up of programming and activities.

During the 2019 NFL Draft, selections from Rock Island and seven of the league’s “Original Towns” outside of the 32 current NFL markets will be made live in the telecast. Our hometown celebration will showcase Rock Island’s history alongside fans and elected officials.

“There’s no better way to bring the League’s hundred years of history full circle than to partner with these communities and recognize their important place in history as part of the NFL’s centennial celebration,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

Mayor Mike Thoms says, "We could not be more excited about the NFL Draft coming to Rock Island. There has been a lot of hard work put in to get recognized, and the NFL honoring us with a draft pick for their 100th Anniversary confirms Rock Island's status in the history of professional football. We want the ENTIRE Quad Cities to join us on April 27th...it's going to be a FANTASTIC time!"

"Our campus has been ranked one of the most the 25 most beautiful in the nation, and yet far too few Quad Cities residents have visited Augustana. We hope this day gives hundreds, if not thousands, of Quad Cities residents the chance to come out for fun, food and festivities in our first-rate football facilities." - Steve Bahls, president of Augustana College

The gates will open for this free community event at noon on April 27th and there will be a Family Fun Zone featuring bounce houses, carnival games, and goodie bags for the first 150 children.

A Youth Football Skills Clinic, presented by Xtream, for girls and boys in 1st through 6th grade will begin at 12:30 pm (check in at 12:00 pm). This one hour clinic will be led by Rock Island High School, Alleman High School, and Augustana College football teams and will include on-the-field skills, drills, and fun for all skill levels. Preregistration is required for this free clinic with limited spaces. Visit www.rockislanddraft.com to register before April 12th to guarantee a t-shirt.

A DJ will be spinning tunes and Rock Island High School and Alleman High School Pep Bands and cheerleaders as well as the Metropolitan Youth Program will be there to entertain the crowd. Food and beverage concessions will be available for purchase from Augustana College and Bent River Brewing Company.

At 2:00 pm there will be a re-creation of the game that took place in September of 1920 at Douglas Park. The Vintage Football Game, presented by Ericksen Chevrolet, featuring the Rock Island Independents vs. the St. Paul Ideals will have historical uniforms and game rules. Rock Island native musician, Lissie will perform the National Anthem before the game. The NFL will be broadcasting a 6th round draft pick live from Rock Island between 2:00 pm and 4:30 pm. Event activities will break during this time so the pick can be announced live. T-shirts will be available for purchase to commemorate this event.

This historic event solidifies the NFL history in Rock Island and celebrates the Rock Island Independents, one of the first NFL charter members, who played football at historic Douglas Park in Rock Island.

Over the past three years the Rock Island Parks & Recreation Department has worked tirelessly with the community, Friends of Douglas Park, the Vintage Football Group, the City and many others to refurbish the historic park. The end goal is to protect history and provide a community park for community activities and engagement. A lot of progress has been made at the park, and the focus will remain on fundraising to complete the project.

To support Friends of Douglas Park in rejuvenating and maintaining the vitality of Douglas Park as a local, state and national historical legacy and destination, as well as a safe, well-known and proud location for a variety of neighborhood, community and regional activities visit www.rockislanddraft.com for more information.

Thank you to the following agencies for helping make this community event possible: Augustana College, Eriksen Chevrolet (presenting the Vintage Football Game), Xtream (presenting the Youth Skills Clinic), City of Rock Island, and Rock Island Parks and Recreation.

To register for the free youth football clinic, or to get more event information visit www.rockislanddraft.com or call Rock Island Parks and Recreation at (309) 732-7275.

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