Thursday, February 10, 2011, 3:16 p.m.
By Ryan OHalloran
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For the first time since 2002, the Redskins may be holding a portion of training camp away from the teams Ashburn headquarters, according to The Washington Post.
The team had no official comment.
The Redskins have explored Williamsburg, Richmond and Virginia Beach in the past and may be close to moving their operation less than 25 miles away from Redskin Park to the campus of George Mason University in Fairfax, the Post said.
Staying in the metropolitan area would give coach Mike Shanahan the benefit of going away for camp but also still allow for local fans to attend the workouts. It would also allow the Redskins to stay on-site for as long as they wish, because George Mason doesnt have a football program that would need the facilities in early-to-mid August.
From a spectator standpoint, Mason would be an upgrade because, according to the athletic departments website, George Mason Stadium seats 5,000. At Redskin Park, fans were left to either stand or bring lawn furniture to enjoy subpar views from one field. Additionally, an on-line campus map shows two adjacent practice fields.
The campus also has a Center for Sports Performance that the school says is equipped with the latest in medical supplies and technology.
Upon his hiring as Redskins coach in January 2010, Shanahan said he preferred taking his team out of town for training camp. Several of his Denver Broncos teams began camp 75 miles north in Greeley, Colo., on the campus of the University of Northern Colorado.
The Redskins were tied to holding training camp in Ashburn last year because of a contractual arrangement with Loudoun County. In 2008, the team and the countys Board of Supervisors signed a 250,000 marketing deal that allowed the county to brand itself as the Redskins year-round headquarters.
Under coach Joe Gibbs, the Redskins were housed at the National Conference Center in Leesburg. In 2009, Jim Zorn gave veterans with three or more years experience the option of staying at home while the rest of the players stayed at a local hotel. Shanahan implemented a hotel-only rule for every player last year.
During their history, the Redskins have trained in Carlisle, Pa., (two stints) and Frostburg, Md.
Vacating Redskin Park for the first month of camp could create additional time for the team to complete an indoor practice facility. The team had to move three practices off-site last year because of weather issues and has often had to halt training-camp practices because of heavy rains andor lightning.
Last year, Oakland and Green Bay were the only two teams to stay in their local area but hold camps off-site.