Everything you need to know about Washington Football Team training camp in Richmond

Washington Football Huddle

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — After a year away because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Washington Football Team has returned to Richmond for training camp, which got underway with a closed conditioning session on Tuesday afternoon. But this could be the last time camp is held in the RVA, as any decisions on whether or not the team comes back beyond 2021 remain up in the air.

The team reached a deal with the Richmond Economic Authority in 2012 to bring camp to town, and the Bon Secours Training Center was constructed on W. Leigh Street near the Science Museum of Virginia in time for festivities in 2013. The WFT began holding camp every summer in Richmond from 2013-2019.

Part of that deal required the City of Richmond to pay the franchise $500,000 a year for training camp. However, that has since changed, as the team is now paying the city $100,000 for 2021.

“If they want to return to Richmond, they’re gonna return because of the way we roll out the red carpet for them because of our fans and how they much, how much they love the team,” Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney was quoted as saying back in May when talks were still ongoing about the team coming to Richmond for this year.

This year’s camp will look and feel a little different. Fans will stay 20 feet away from players, and in-person autographs will be prohibited due to the NFL’s COVID-19 protocols. Those that come to camp will, however, have a chance to interact virtually with players one-on-one.

Additionally, the team will only be in town a few days versus calling Richmond home over the course of a couple weeks like in years prior. Fans will be able to take in practice and walk-throughs from July 28-31. Practice will begin at 10 a.m. July 28-30 with walk-throughs at 8 p.m.

Saturday, July 31, is the team’s fan appreciation day. Practice will be held at 9:45 a.m. that day.

Fans in attendance will have an opportunity to check out some pieces of team history, including get up and close to the team’s Vince Lombardi trophies, and take part in meet and greets and photo ops with former players in the alumni zone. There will be plenty of activities for the kiddos, too, in the kid zone.

Also COVID-19 vaccinations will be available to those in attendance through a partnership between the team and the Virginia Department of Health. Doses of the Johnson & Johnson, Moderna and Pfizer shots will be on hand and offered for free to anyone who is unvaccinated.

Ultimately with just over two weeks until the 2021 preseason begins against the New England Patriots, the goal for the Washington Football Team at camp is to get into game shape and learn the team’s playbook. The NFL and the NFL Players Association agreed to extend the regular season to 17 games over 18 weeks, with the preseason being shortened from four games to three.

Washington will look to build on a 7-9 2020 regular season. A sub-.500 record was good enough for the Football Team to claim the NFC East title in one of the worst divisions in the league.

Gone is quarterback Alex Smith, in is veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick has sung the praises of head coach Ron Rivera and the team’s offense heading into camp. He’ll have Taylor Heinicke backing him up. Heinicke, who became a fan favorite stepping in for Alex Smith at the end of last season, signed a contract extension with Washington earlier in 2021.

On Monday, it was announced Washington and defensive tackle Jonathan Allen agreed to a four-year contract extension worth $72 million. A $30 million signing bonus is included. Allen recorded 63 tackles and had two sacks in 2020. He was Washington’s first-round draft pick in 2017 out of the University of Alabama.

Washington also signed former Virginia Tech quarterback Logan Thomas to a three-year contract extension. Thomas transitioned to playing tight end, and last year with Washington had 72 catches.

The Football Team opens the 2021 regular season on Sunday, Sept. 12, at 1 p.m. against the Los Angeles Chargers at FedEx Field.

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