We don’t know where the Redskins will hold training camp this year but we know it won’t be at George Mason University.
GMU athletic director Tom O’Connor told the Washington Post that he met with Bruce Allen last month and they discussed the possibility of having camp on the university’s Fairfax campus.
The discussions didn’t last long as O’Connor and Allen mutually agreed that while the athletic facilities would meet their purposes, they don’t have the setup to be able to handle the fans and media.
If the Redskins are inquiring at other facilities away from Redskins Park, where they have held training camp every year since 2003, the talks are being kept quiet. The Post inquired several possible locations and all said that they were not having discussions with the team. When Mike Shanahan took over as head coach he said that the preferred to have the team get away for camp. Both training camps under Shanahan have been at the team facility.
About half of the teams in the NFL have camp at their normal facilities. The trend is moving in that direction as the Ravens announced in December that they will end their long-standing relationship with McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland and hold camp in their Owings Mills facility.
In a lot of ways it makes sense to stay at home for training camp. In order to have camp remotely a team must either move a lot of expensive video, computer, and medical equipment or they will have to lease it at the site of camp. That is either a lot of inconvenience or a lot of expense.
There is that old-fashioned desire to get away and focus on nothing but football in some isolated, idyllic college town. There may be something to that but there is little evidence that this team bonding experience during the summer leads to more wins during the fall. Of the final eight teams alive in this year’s NFL playoffs, seven of them had training camp in their normal training facility. The other one, the Packers, train at St. Norbert College, which is less than six miles from Lambeau Field. That is just anecdotal evidence, to be sure, but it does demonstrate that it is possible to win in the NFL while bypassing the whole back to college experience.