Tuesday, July 23, 2002

CARLISLE, Pa. Washington Redskins coach Steve Spurrier openly dismissed the benefits of practicing away from the team’s home base yesterday, making it likely the club will return training camp to Redskin Park next year.
“I don’t understand the importance of getting away, to tell you the truth,” Spurrier said. “Everybody has their own idea. I don’t know how we’ll do it next year.”
The Redskins reported to Dickinson College yesterday for the second straight year. The team trained at their Ashburn, Va., facility in 2000 but returned to Carlisle last year at the insistence of coach Marty Schottenheimer, club officials said. The Redskins held camp at Carlisle from 1962 to 1994 and moved to Frostburg, Md., for five years.
The Redskins signed a five-year contract with Dickinson, but the deal has a buyout clause the team has the option of exercising each November. Spurrier was hired in January, too late to exercise the buyout. However, several players said they understood this would be the last training camp away from Redskin Park.
Redskins vice president Karl Swanson said the location of next year’s camp will be discussed after the current camp is over.
“If Steve wants to have training camp somewhere else, that’s where we’ll go,” Swanson said.
The Redskins averaged several thousand people in attendance at each practice at the Redskin Park training camp in 2000, despite a $10 admission for adults that was a first by an NFL team and a $10 parking fee. The team averaged more than 500 fans last year at Dickinson despite an oppressively hot summer. Owner Dan Snyder later said it was a mistake to charge admission at Redskin Park. Swanson said there have been no discussions on whether to charge an entrance fee if the team returns to Redskin Park for camp next year.
The 2000 camp was criticized by some team officials as being too soft. Many players declined to stay at the nearby team hotel despite a mandatory-attendance policy a policy that wasn’t backed by bed checks and chose to stay at their own homes instead. Spurrier said that players might be allowed to stay at home next year.
“This is my first year away so we’ll see how it works out,” Spurrier said. “Maybe this is the way to go. Who knows? My experience has been staying in your home area in your own beds is just as productive as staying away.”
Cornerback Darrell Green is the only player remaining from the earlier era at Dickinson, where the team once spent nearly two months. First-timers said they liked the small town, which is about two hours from Redskin Park.
“I’d only heard rumors about Carlisle,” guard Kipp Vickers said. “It’s a little different. For a person like me, more places to eat is a good thing.”
Spurrier’s camp, less restrictive than Schottenheimer’s, will allow players to once again patronize local restaurants and bars where legends were created. The bar where Sonny Jurgensen, Billy Kilmer and the “Over the Hill Gang” often drank has since burned down. A second bar frequented by the “5 O’Clock Club” in the 1980s changed owners. However, the Gingerbread Man, a popular Redskin hangout for more than 30 years, is still adorned with team memorabilia, and Hamilton’s Restaurant, where John Riggins supposedly ate 22 hot dogs in one sitting, still operates.

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