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Record Fan Attendance At First Practices


Fans showed up in force for the first two practices of the Redskins inaugural training camp at the Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center in Richmond, Va.

With more than 4,000 fans at morning walk through and 6,100 fans at this afternoon's practice, the Richmond fans helped set a franchise record for fan attendance on the first day of camp.

Richmond Mayor Dwight C. Jones spoke proudly of the attendance and said the fan excitement is meeting his expecations.

"We knew that Richmond was the right decision, not only because we were ready to build a world class facility, but because we are centrally located," he said. "Today's turnout proves what we already knew and we expect the enthusiasm to continue."

Head coach Mike Shanahan marveled at the fan support and the team's overall experience in Richmond so far.

"I don't think it could've been better," Shanahan told the media after practice. "I think you could see with the support, the players appreciated the fans.

"It was indicative with the way they reacted at the end of practice, how much time the players did spent with the young kids."

Starting a new training camp tradition, Redskins players invited a young fan to escort them back into the facility after each practice session.

Shanahan explained that the idea was intended to provide the fans with quality time beyond just autographs with the players.

"I was used to an environment where four or five players, we'll get a coach, and we'll kind of sign autographs. We did it over the years and people were happy, but I wasn't really sure if that was the best way to do," Shanahan explained. "[Redskins general manager] Bruce Allen actually suggested it to me.

"I thought it was a heck of an idea, and I thought why not instead of signing autographs right away...we thought it would be fun to take a guy after practice with some young kid and get to know them, talk to him.

"It's a 200-yard walk [from the field to the building], where Rex Grossman was throwing passes to a kid. Another player is giving a kid his wrist bands or his gloves. He's just getting to know him. This was the first day and I thought it went really well, so we're going to continue to do that.

"I think it's a chance to thank Richmond for all that they've done for us, to tell the fans how much we appreciate them being here for practice, and getting a chance to know our players."

This is just part of the overall experience in Richmond that has both sides calling the move a success in the early going of training camp.

"You take a look at this facility, and it's a great facility. Everything we need to do, we have right here," Shanahan said. "We've got a good training room, weight room. If you take a look at the fields, we have two-and-a-half fields and they're in excellent shape.

"The hotel is fantastic; there's plenty of meeting rooms. There's extra rest than what we've had in the past, being at our facility and players separate. Great beds to sleep in and great meeting rooms.

"It gives you a chance, coming here, to have an excellent camp."




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