Tom Brady and the New England Patriots will practice with the Redskins in Richmond for each of the next three days, allowing players from both teams to get acquainted and beat up on each other before Thursday’s preseason opener at FedEx Field.
“I think it’s a great chance for everybody to learn and get better and also a great chance for us as coaches to evaluate our guy and evaluate what we’re doing schematically,” Redskins Coach Jay Gruden said.
If Gruden’s counterpart, Patriots Coach Bill Belichick, gets a hankering for a Bacon Cheddar Melt after Monday’s first session, there’s a parking spot reserved for him at the Arby’s around the corner.
Dean Kovanes, owner of the Arby’s at 2309 W. Broad St., hinted that he had something special planned for the Patriots’ arrival in Richmond when he unveiled a reserved parking sign for ‘Redskins great’ LaVar Arrington at the start of training camp. Kovanes didn’t disappoint.
To fully appreciate the new sign, one has to know a little bit about Belichick’s history with the New York Jets before he was named head coach of the Patriots in 2000.
When Bill Parcells resigned after three seasons as head coach of the Jets in January 2000, Belichick, who had been an assistant on Parcells’ staff, was promoted to head coach. In a stunning announcement the following day, Belichick quit. He reportedly wrote his resignation note on a sheet of paper, or a napkin: “I resign as HC of the NYJ.” The binoculars are a less obscure nod to the 2007 ‘Spygate’ controversy, in which Belichick and the Patriots were fined for videotaping Jets coaches’ signals during a September game.
If the weather in Richmond is too hot for Belichick’s trademark cutoff hoodie, there’s plenty of other Patriots gear, including hats and T-shirts, for sale in the Redskins team store inside the entrance to training camp.
Tickets to the three joint practice sessions with the Patriots were distributed via a ticket lottery, just as they were for Fan Appreciation Day on Saturday. There’s a stand-by line for fans who didn’t receive tickets in the lottery.
— Liz Clarke (@lizclarketweet) August 4, 2014
Patriots fans were well represented in Richmond on Monday, but Kenneth Willcox looked a little out of place in his Tom Brady jersey at Fan Appreciation Day.
“Redskins fans have been looking at me like I’m an oddball,” said Willcox, who attended Saturday’s practice with his cousin, Mitchel Stanley. “They’ve been telling me Brady is going to get rolled over on Thursday night.”
Willcox, 39, moved to Richmond from Boston about 25 years ago and says he’s been a Patriots fan for more than 30 years.
“I’ve been with the Patriots ever since they [stunk] and they were as bad as the Houston Oilers,” he said.