Obviously, the main story dominating headlines with the Washington Redskins this Training Camp center around quarterback Robert Griffin III‘s recovery from reconstructive knee surgery. The Redskins also have a sudden need to fill at defensive end brought on by Adam Carriker‘s struggle to recover from a knee injury and Jarvis Jenkins‘ four-game suspension due to a failed drug test.
However, a huge subplot to this season’s Training Camp for the Redskins is their change of locale to Richmond, Va.
I’ve written that the move to Richmond is loaded with layers of intrigue. The team, of course, has, for more than a decade, trained at its home base: Redskins Park in Ashburn, Va. When the subject was raised about the team “getting away,” for Training Camp, team owner Daniel Snyder and others would defend the decision to stay home, citing proximity of doctors and other conveniences.
And when it comes to Richmond, we all know the team is getting some significant financial support to visit the state-of-the-art Ben Secours facility, to an estimated tune of around $4 million annually. Also, like any of these municipal-funded sporting endeavors, there has been criticism both for and against the Redskins.
However, through the first five days of camp, the support for the team in Richmond has been overwhelming. The team drew an estimated 10,100 fans to their opening practice Thursday. The drew 3,955 for a Saturday morning practice and more than 15,000 that afternoon for a Fan Appreciation Day.
Yes, it’s early, and we all know people will come out in droves for a first-time event. But with the early returns so strong, you have to wonder what the discussions are amongst Snyder and the Redskins brass.
Remember, the Redskins are going to move from FedExField in Landover, Md., at some point. Granted, it may be a decade away. However, Snyder inherited that monstrosity of a stadium from Jack Kent Cooke, and he is not going to stay there forever.
Further, with the arrival of the Baltimore Ravens in 1996, the Redskins fan base has not dwindled per se, but shifted geographically. And the shift has been in a southern direction.
In short, if the Redskins build a new stadium, it will not be in Maryland again. Nor will it be in Washington, D.C., as Snyder did not become a billionaire by doing business with fools and thus, will steer clear of the incompetent D.C. government.
Yes, when the Redskins move, it will be to Northern Virginia. Not Richmond, mind you, but somewhere in Northern Virginia. And if the early returns are any indication, such a project may be breaking ground sooner than we think.
Brian Carroccio is a Washington Redskins blogger for Rant Sports. You can follow him on Twitter @bricarr2, ”like” him on Facebook and add him to your Google+ network.