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Robert Kraft, 18 Hall of Famers partake in 'Touchdown in Israel II'

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  • By Tyler Horka NFL.com
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While current NFL players enter the quietest stretch of the calendar year, 18 former NFL greats have started a busy week overseas.

Eighteen Hall of Fame inductees arrived in Israel on Thursday as part of "Touchdown in Israel II," a trip organized by Patriots CEO Robert Kraft designed to "Honor the heroes of the game, preserve its history, promote its values and celebrate excellence everywhere."

They started the program immediately after hopping off the jet following an 11-hour flight to Tel Aviv. It didn't take long for them to realize the true impact American football has had on Israel. After dinner on night one, legendary Cleveland Browns running back Jim Brown was greeted at the hotel to the tune of two enthusiastic passersby screaming, "It's Jim Brown! It's Jim Brown!"

Joe Greene -- the former Steelers defensive tackle who anchored the "Steel Curtain" defenses of the 1970s -- was greeted by a fan in a Steelers shirt with just as much enthusiasm. He was both surprised and elated.

Said Greene: "She caught me by surprise. I was not expecting that! It was very special."

The Gold Jackets will participate in various programs throughout the week while engaging with Israeli fans and youth players. The hope is to inspire future generations to love and appreciate the game of football while developing and abiding by five important values for the rest of their lives: commitment, integrity, courage, respect and excellence.

Former Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach wasted no time in impressing the Israeli fans on day two of the trip. The two-time Super Bowl champion was seen throwing the rock to eight-time Pro Bowl defensive back Aeneas Williams on Friday.

Throughout his days with the Patriots, Kraft has been known for his commitment to promoting the game of football. In February, he donated $6 million for the creation of Israel's first American football stadium. On Friday, youth players demonstrated their skills in front of Kraft in a series of four scrimmages, each of which spanned one quarter in length.

Cris Carter and Jerome Bettis were among the honorary captains and coaches during the scrimmages. With five days still left on their adventure, Carter, Bettis and the rest of the Hall of Famers will continue to delight and encourage the foreign fans.

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