- The Washington Times - Friday, March 3, 2000

Frostburg leaders feel like a jilted lover. They've written letters. They've sent candy and a bouquet of balloons. Yet, Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder hasn't responded to their inquiries over reports the team won't return to Frostburg State University for training camp in July.

"To ignore the mayor, the president of the university not even have the decency to return our calls, he's just uncouth," FSU president Catherine Gira told Bloomberg News. "I've never worked with anyone of his level in business who's had such a poor understanding of the basic proprieties of his office."

Team sources Tuesday confirmed a Washington Times report of July 27 that the Redskins plan to train at Redskin Park and not honor the remaining five years of their contract at the western Maryland college. Snyder repeatedly denied the story last summer, but spokesman Karl Swanson Thursday admitted the Redskins are looking at local options. Swanson said Snyder hasn't talked to Frostburg leaders because no decision has been made. However, team sources said only minor details remain toward building stands, corporate tents and parking at the Ashburn, Va., facility.

"No decision has been made so there's no one to talk to about anything yet," Swanson said.

But Frostburg leaders are frosted over discovering the team's move in the newspapers. After all, Snyder told Gira in a brief 90-second meeting on Aug. 2 that he had no plans to move. Frostburg mayor John Bambacus and Gira sent letters to Snyder last week proposing a parade down Main Street and included a video of the 1995 welcoming parade that locals said was the town's largest since the end of World War II.

Bambacus even sent balloons and chocolates to Snyder with a note stating: "We're so sorry we missed Valentine's Day, but we wanted you to know the citizens of Frostburg love the Redskins."

Bambacus was especially upset over local merchants recently purchasing Redskins merchandise for the camp that begins July 21. Many locals are Pittsburgh Steelers fans so the merchandise won't be easily sold without training camp. FSU earned more than $50,000 in merchandise sales annually.

"The timing is a special concern to many," said Bambacus, a 35-year Redskins ticket holder. "In anticipation of their arrival this summer, FSU and many merchants have already ordered their merchandise. This would truly be a hardship for many businesses and a huge impact on our local area in general."

Maryland House Speaker Casper Taylor, whose district includes Frostburg, was especially outraged over the move. Taylor met briefly with Snyder after the Times report last summer to gain assurances from the new owner that the team would honor the remaining five years of its deal. After all, Taylor brokered the deal to gain training camp in Frostburg in exchange for $70 million to cover FedEx Field's infrastructure costs.

"I would feel very disappointed and very used," Taylor said. "The Redskins franchise was orphaned five years ago with no home to go. We, the taxpayers of Maryland, invested a substantial amount of money in a stadium and a summer home. For the Redskins to now take a summer home and move it to the state of Virginia would be a sad commentary on the value of commitment."

Meanwhile, the Redskins signed linebacker Kevin Mitchell, safety Curtis Buckley, fullback Ray Zellars, linebacker Tyrus McCloud, linebacker Myron Smith, safety David Terrell, tight end Kevin Pesak, center Juan Porter, receiver Rondell Menendez, fullback Norman Miller, defensive end Derrick Ham, punter Peter Elezovic and tight end Todd Pollock.

Staff writer David Elfin contributed to this report.

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