SNIDER: Home, sweet home welcomes back Redskins

Rick Snider
June 03, 2020 - 11:33 am
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The Redskins will summer at their Ashburn facility rather than spending a lame-duck training camp in Richmond. And, no one really cares.
 
For seven years, the Redskins traveled to the Virginia capital in a deal that quickly proved no good for Richmond. It was a fine facility, despite lacking a bubble for rainy days, that especially haunted one summer. But, the crowds increasingly thinned each year after a robust 2013 when nonstop screams of "R-G-III" drowned out the nearby interstate.
 
Boy, does that seem a lifetime ago.
 
On Monday, the NFL mandated teams remain at their year-round facility given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. That's based on optimism there will be a training camp.
 
Washington was among only 10 teams that traveled to training camp, so it's not a massive leaguewide change. It's really not a big deal for the Redskins. They have a nearby hotel/conference center that has been used before. There's parking for fans, though it's doubtful camp will be open this year given social distancing concerns. But, as we're continually learning, dealing with the virus changes day by day.
 
The Redskins were to finish the final summer of an eight-year deal in Richmond, which paid the team handsomely to help bolster local tourism. Indeed, the city built a new facility that was expected to be rented out the rest of the year. Of course, it never was.
 
Indeed, Richmond learned the hard lesson that nobody makes money off the Redskins but the Redskins. The few out-of-towners who drove to camp went home afterwards. At best, they bought lunch and gas. The food tents dwindled to chains and one local restaurant. The vendors lining the fan entranceway saw just one last year. Those windows people don't give up.
 
The Redskins won't miss Richmond and frankly, Richmond won't miss the Redskins.
 
So now what? Traveling to training camp was an outdated concept, harkening back decades to when players worked offseason jobs and needed a two-month camp with six preseason games to get into shape. That the Redskins barely spent three weeks in Richmond showed how little camp is needed given the modern concept of offseason camps and workouts.

Sequestering away from Washington doesn't build team chemistry. Carlisle didn't make the team great. Great players won championships. Frostburg's five summers produced one NFC East championship and a 39-40-1 record. Richmond summers readied for 41-70-1 falls, including two three-win seasons and another four-winner. The two-year return to Carlisle in 2001-02 was 15-17.
 
So there's nothing in the waters away from Ashburn that works wonders. The Redskins are likely bound to Washington summers from now on. They're no hotter than Richmond or even Carlisle, which was surprisingly warm for being north. Only Frostburg was a respite.
 
Maybe the Redskins con some local facility into hosting them until a new stadium comes in 2027 that will surely include a daily venue for hosting camp, too. Hopefully, more fans come than the meager crowds for games.

Farewell, Richmond. Thanks for the southern hospitality.

Rick Snider has covered Washington sports since 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @Snide_Remarks

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