By Mike Jones
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, February 10, 2011; 9:04 PM
When he was introduced as head coach of the Washington Redskins 13 months ago, Mike Shanahan said he preferred holding training camp away from team headquarters. It appears the organization may be closer to moving its camp from Ashburn for the first time since 2002.
Four people with direct knowledge of the situation said yesterday that the Redskins have made arrangements to take over The Mason Inn Conference Center and Hotel in Fairfax for the month of August, and have held preliminary discussions about using George Mason University's campus for training camp.
When reached for comment, Redskins senior vice president Tony Wyllie said only, "We're exploring our options."
George Mason Athletic Director Tom O'Connor said that Redskins General Manager Bruce Allen and team vice president Rod Nenner have toured the university's campus and the Mason Inn more than once, but described the discussions as preliminary.
"We had a good, friendly chat," O'Connor said. "We took them around and they liked what they saw. . . . There are certainly logistical issues we would have to work through. Nothing has gone to the next level."
George Mason hosted the Washington Wizards' training camp last August, and has held discussions with D.C. United about doing the same for the soccer team.
The Redskins last season explored both local and regional options for relocating their training camp. But they began their search too late in the process to finalize a move, and Shanahan held his first camp with the team at Redskins Park.
The Redskins held training camp at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pa., from 1963 to 1994, and then moved to Frostburg, Md., for five years. The team held training camp at Redskins Park in 2000, but coach Marty Schottenheimer returned the team to Carlisle in 2001, and the team remained in 2002. In 2003, under coach Steve Spurrier, the Redskins held camp at their Ashburn facility and have been there ever since.
The Redskins would need at least three fields for practices. Mason's campus includes a football field that is used for the university's club team, but that is an artificial turf surface, so the Redskins likely wouldn't use it. The soccer stadium is a natural grass field with permanent bleachers, and there are multiple practice fields nearby.
Shanahan was in meetings all day Thursday and wasn't available for comment.
Last year, when asked where he likes to hold training camp, the coach said he had held camp both at home and away in the past, but added, "I kind of enjoy going away if you can get the right environment.
"You've got to have the right fields, you've got to have the right facility, you've got to have the right meeting rooms, and if that's possible, I would like to go to a camp. But I'm not sure if that's possible because you've got to have a quality field, and you've got to be able to have meeting rooms. We'll look into that and do the best thing for the Redskins."
Redskins note: A league source confirmed that the Redskins will host three-time Pro Bowl defensive lineman Shaun Rogers for an exploratory meeting tomorrow.
The 10-year veteran was released by the Cleveland Browns and wouldn't have to wait for a new collective bargaining agreement to sign with a new team. But the talks are said to be extremely preliminary and a signing isn't expected imminently.
The Redskins are in the market for a nose tackle following the failed experiment with lineman Albert Haynesworth. Rogers, who will turn 32 next month, played end for Cleveland last year but has the ability to play nose tackle as well.
Staff Writer Steven Goff contributed to this report.