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It's a game, not a war: Ex-Army pilot has perspective in role as Redskins special teams coach

  • 4814a64c4df1191d5b0f6a706700f643.jpg

    Washington Redskins special teams coach Ben Kotwica signs an autograph for a fan as his daughter Arianna Kotwica, 2, holds onto his leg after practice at the team's NFL football training facility, Sunday, July 27, 2014, in Roanoke, Va. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) (The Associated Press)

  • Redskins Camp Football-2.jpg

    Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder, center, watches practice at the team's NFL football training facility, Sunday, July 27, 2014 in Roanoke, Va. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) (The Associated Press)

The Washington Redskins' new special teams coach flew more than 1,000 combat missions as a helicopter pilot during the Iraq War.

Ken Kotwica is using some of his military background to help organize and inspire the Redskins special teams units, which were the worst in the league last year.

At his first meeting with the team in the spring, Kotwica invited players to join his "special forces." Robert Griffin III said he was so inspired he was ready to join the kickoff team.

But Kotwica says the parallels between war and football are "exacerbated." He's averse to words like "battle" and "war" to describe a game.

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AP NFL websites: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_NFL