Richmond greets Redskins for camp

It’s out of Ashburn and off to Richmond and a new training camp facility for the Washington Redskins. Carlisle and the summer days of George Allen, quarterbacks Sonny Jurgensen and Billy Kilmer and the Over the Hill Gang are but fading memories.

[cleeng_content id="346114425" description="Read it now!" price="0.49" t="article"]Even the short stay the Redskins had in Frostburg at the little college in the hills was a long time ago.

Training camp has been in Ashburn since the year 2000. And now it’s being moved again. Down to Richmond with its southern hospitality and the down home cooking the flower of the commonwealth can provide.

This year’s version of close up and personal NFL football begins on July 25 and hurries right on through until August 16. Seventeen days of practice. Where team management has promised to make the training camp a place where fans can mingle with players and coaches only too willing to sign autographs and pose for photographs.

The cost of parking ranges from $5 at most lots to $7 at City Stadium. A leisurely ride on a shuttle bus will ferry those dressed in burgundy and gold from the City Stadium lot to the state-of-the-art training facility at the Bon Secours Virginia Health System.

The parking charge might remind some of the fee once charged back in Ashburn by team owner Dan Snyder. The once-meddlesome boss has silenced himself with the discipline he used to amass his fortune. But his parking charges when the team first came to Ashburn from Frostburg to hold training camp have remained uppermost in the minds of some people. Any training camp is always a welcome time for the football-loving public.

Late July means the regular season is only about six weeks away in early September.

Questions always lurk behind the goal posts about those players coming off surgery or injuries. In Richmond, no player will be watched more closely than just-married Robert Griffin III. “Did he just show a sign of a slight limp?” “Is he as fast and elusive as he was before the season-ending knee injury?” “Do you think he will be given as many running plays this season?” Questions and the answers they bring are going to be a part of this summer’s training camp in Richmond.

Griffin III won’t be the only player whose possible return to health will be on the minds of those asking for a better record and a deeper playoff trip that the 10-6 mark the Redskins had last year.

Outside linebacker Brian Orakpo is another player with mended parts and surgery. Even a rejuvenated Orakpo has competition from those who filled his shoes well enough to get the Redskins into the playoffs.

But the public relations minions stationed throughout the training camp grounds will be only too happy to dissuade anybody from spending their every waking moment wondering about the health of their favorite players.

On the grounds in Richmond will be merchandise and souvenir tents where NFL trademarks will be on everything from coffee mugs to Santana Moss jerseys.

The Redskins advise fans planning to come down to the capital city for a day in the sun to bring along their lawn chairs or blankets because no bleacher seating is available at the Bon Secours Center.

Be ready to lug your folding chair onto the shuttle bus you pay to ride from convenient City Stadium.

And please remember that the following items are prohibited at the training center: video cameras, glass bottles, firearms, alcohol, illegal drugs and any animal that is not a guide dog. Many of the same rules apply at the zoo or a wildlife preserve except a video camera can be used to document the comings and goings of the animals on display at those places.

The Redskins emphasize that Fan Appreciation Day will be held at noon on Saturday, Aug. 3. However, parking fees of $7 and $5 will be the same that day.

It won’t be Carlisle where those gathered in the mid-day sun could sit in the bleachers alongside Biddle Field at Dickinson College. And it won’t be Frostburg where those same watchers could sit in the stands beside the artificial turf of the football field at Frostburg State University.

Football in July means the NFL regular season and its 16 games can’t be too far away. Richmond is the summer home of the Washington Redskins. Just remember to leave your video cameras at home.[/cleeng_content]

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