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Wake Up Washington | Fan presence at The Park gives players excitement for season ahead

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The crowd of burgundy and gold on the edges of the field has offered a boost for Commanders players in the first two weeks of training camp.

"Fan support means a lot. Just seeing 'em out here," Carson Wentz said. "Especially the last couple years with COVID and different protocols and all these things. Being personal with people was definitely kinda limited for a lot of reasons, for a lot of people."

For players, the fan presence has stood as a wholesome and heartwarming bookend for practices. They come out of the locker room to spurts of cheering and positive words. That walk out to practice often turns into a jog as if players are being carried by the encouragement of the sideline support. Just about two hours later, not long after the whistle blows to signal the end of practice, players make their way over to the fans to sign autographs, take pictures and interact.

It's perhaps a simple, obvious part of the pro sports world. In the wake of the pandemic though, fan engagement comes with a revamped sense of appreciation -- on both sides. And for every player, who has a unique journey to this team, the support means something different.

"It's cool. I don't know how to explain it. It's nice to have people root for you," Taylor Heinicke said. "And I think it all pretty much came from that Tampa Bay [Buccaneers] pylon dive and that game."

In fact, several fans in attendance have repped the "The Legend of Taylor Heinicke" shirt while at camp, which features a stylized image of the pylon dive. For a player with an underdog story that had one of its most exciting chapters during the pandemic, the fan support out at training camp is special.

"I'm just trying to do the best out there and do what I can," he said.

Just like it is for players, training camp for fans marks a beginning – the start of their rally for the season ahead, a movement that multiplies as they make the move from Ashburn to Landover.

"I look forward to seeing FedExField continue to get rocking and rocking," Wentz said. "Hopefully we can bring them something to cheer about."

Here's a morning roundup of what the local and national media have to say about the Washington Commanders on Saturday, August 6, 2022. All reports, rumors and conjecture are a reflection of the media conversation and are not endorsed or confirmed by the Washington Commanders.

The reports and deals expressed in this article have not been confirmed by Washington, nor do they reflect any insider information from anyone in the front office.

Commanders fans were at the team facility in Ashburn to cheer on their favorite players during training camp. Check out the top images from the day. (Emilee Fails and Kourtney Carroll/Washington Commanders)

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