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Washington Football Team’s future in Richmond uncertain

Jimmy Moreland
Posted at 2:01 PM, Jun 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-04 19:16:22-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- The Washington Football Team will return to Richmond for the start of training camp this summer, the NFL team announced on Friday.

“Our entire organization is thrilled to return to Richmond for Training Camp this year,” team president Jason Wright said.

The Ashburn, Virginia club will practice at the West Leigh Street facility from July 27-31.

Washington held camp in Richmond from 2013-19.

In 2012, the city invested $10 million to build the Bon Secours Training Center. The billion-dollar team was paid $500,000 by the city for the coaches and players to train in Richmond.

At the time, city leaders forecasted the deal would bring millions in tourism dollars to Virginia’s capital, but the city only lost money when the team came to won.

“Instead, the Washington Football Team will provide $100,000 to rent out the training camp and we are looking forward to welcoming back to the city of Richmond,” Mayor Levar Stoney said.

A VCU study of the deal in 2019 predicted the site itself could be attractive to developers.

Jim Tomsula
Defensive line coach Jim Tomsula, center left, directs his players during the Washington Redskins NFL football training camp in Richmond, Va., Thursday, Aug. 1, 2019. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

Trevor Dickerson serves as president of the Scott’s Addition Boulevard Association, which includes the neighborhood that city leaders promised would see the financial benefits of the team practicing here.

“I don’t think it brought the benefit and traffic that everybody thought it would. Certainly, there was a little uptick, but there wasn’t a boom that everybody painted it to be,” he recalled.

Dickerson called the announcement good news for the city that is working to bounce back following a devastating year. He welcomed the team back next year if the club and city can ink a deal.

“If the team was here multiple times a year it might be a different story but the fact [the facility] is used a week or two out of the year and sits vacant save for any one-off events that are held there -- I think it’s very underutilized as a facility,” Dickerson explained.

Redskins Football
Helmets are lined up along the practice field as players begin drills during the first day of the Washington Redskins NFL football training camp in Richmond, Va., Thursday, July 25, 2019.

CBS 6 asked about the team’s future in Richmond beyond 2021.

A Washington Football Team spokesperson said they are “all in” for this year in Richmond and evaluating the situation year by year.

“We will see what the future holds,” the spokesperson said.

An agreement with Richmond was set to expire after the 2020 training camp. That was conducted at the team's practice facility because of the pandemic.

Washington could have camp in Richmond for several more years if the team reaches a new stadium deal in Virginia.

“We’re pleased to welcome the Washington Football Team back to the City of Richmond for Training Camp this summer,” Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney said in a statement that announced the news. “With a new coach and team leadership, we’re excited about the organization’s direction and commitment to our city and its fans in the region. We look forward to hosting the team for an exciting week that features emerging young talent on the field and showcases all that Richmond has to offer off the field.”

Click here for more information about visiting the training camp.