The new Redskins Training Center will be ready for training camp
RICHMOND--Joe Theismann is a big fan of the Redskins moving training camp to Richmond, a two-plus hour drive from the team’s year-round headquarters in Ashburn.
Not only does it force players to focus on football, he said, it also encourages team bonding.
“Carlisle was about two hours away – so a similar drive,” Theismann said Monday at the grand opening of the Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center. “You really get a chance to be around your own players. Coaches get a chance to control the environment. Instead of having the guys go off home … what you have is a centrally located area where you can totally focus on building camaraderie, building a team concept, getting the guys to understand that we’re all in this thing together. When we were in Carlisle, we developed a mentality that it was us against the world, and you can only do that when you have everyone in a confined area. And that’s exactly what they’ll have here.”
The Hogs, Washington’s legendary offensive line in the 1980's, came together over a round of beers near Dickinson College, Theismann said.
“So much is accomplished away from the meeting rooms when it comes to the putting the continuity of the football team together,” he added. “You really get to know one another. You get to talk about family, to laugh, have a good time together. That’s when you really build that relationship with the guy next to you, as a unit. That’s really the foundation of where The Hogs were created. It was really just sitting around a table with a bunch of longneck beers, talking about the game and having a good time.”
Getting away also creates the opportunity for some shenanigans that players still laugh about decades later.
“We used to set up water cans, giant water cans, so that when a guy opened the door it would flood his room,” Theismann recalled. “We took fire extinguishers and fired them under doors. We did all kinds of things.”
He added: “Joe Gibbs wasn’t really a big fan of al lot of the pranks that we had. We weren’t in a hotel; we were in a dormitory. So we should have treated it with a lot more respect than probably we did. But I remember getting woken up at 3 o’clock in the morning and having to clean up three floors of what everybody else did. I sort of wound up being the guy that everybody said, ‘Hey, you’re the guy in charge, it’s your fault. Get some guys up and you go clean it.' And I worked until 7 and then went to breakfast at 7:30. But I wouldn’t trade that moment for anything.”
For the record, Theismann does not envision the Redskins’ current quarterback, Robert Griffin III, cleaning up a mess his teammates made in the middle of the night.
“I don’t believe Robert is going to be quite that kind of guy when it comes to having to get up at 3 o’clock in the morning,” Theismann said, chuckling. “Because I don’t think Mike [Shanahan] is going to allow it. Times are different.”