Construction underway on new Redskins facility
RICHMOND—The Redskins will be embarking on an eight-year experiment starting in July and there is no going back.
They will hold training camp downtown here, smack in the middle of the capital of Virginia. No other NFL team will hold camp in such a setting. About half of the teams in the league hold camp at their home training facilities. The rest travel to small colleges in more rural settings. None will hold camp in an urban setting, at least not in one they don’t call home the other 49 weeks in the year.
The Redskins are going to have their camp at the Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center, which is less than five minutes off of I-95 in Richmond. They have an eight-year agreement to hold training camp there and, according to Redskins General Manager Bruce Allen, there is no exit clause in the deal.
“Most teams go to rural locations, small colleges somewhere out in the boonies,” Allen said at a press event in the training facility, which is very much still under construction. “Other teams are coming back to their facilities to hold training camp. We wanted, we embraced the idea of going into a city. We talked to Washington DC about it. We like the idea.”
The building itself has concrete floors, windows and doors, player lockers, and very little else. The two fields have grass and goal posts. The parking lots were covered with gravel. The goal for completion is June 30, giving a few weeks of wiggle room should it be needed prior to the start of camp, which is July 25. There is still a lot of work to do but Allen said that the Redskins organization was confident that it would be done on time.
A few other notes from the Monday press event:
—The Redskins will occupy the facility for three to four weeks out of the year and Bon Secours, a health services company, will control it the rest of the year. The upper level will be made into physicians’ offices and the training room and weight room will be a physical therapy and wellness center.
—There is space set aside for an indoor practice facility but Allen said that there are no definite plans to add one and that one getting built was not a prerequisite for the Redskins agreeing to hold camp at the facility. Getting a bubble at some point may hinge on whether the Richmond Raiders, the local indoor football league team, will be interested in using the bubble for practice. Allen did say that if one does get built it would not be a full-sized field.
—One of the reasons that the Redskins decided to go away to training camp was to build team chemistry. “The players attitude when they’re away at a camp is different,” said Allen. “Their friends become their teammates and it creates that special bond.” Allen noted that in the Super Bowl era, all but four champions held summer camp away from their home cities.