Although the NFL’s labor dispute is not yet resolved, coach Mike Shanahan and his staff are preparing as if the Washington Redskins will report for training camp on time, according to people within the organization.
Despite continued uncertainty about when the NFL lockout will end, the Redskins are planning to start training camp July 28th. Under the old collective bargaining agreement, that would be the earliest they could begin – 15 days before their first preseason game, which is at Pittsburgh.
With the labor standoff preventing organized team activities and minicamps, Shanahan gave his coaches a good chunk of the month of June off, said people familiar with the team’s activities. Coaches came and went over the last two weeks but are expected to be back Monday to begin preparing for training camp.
Shanahan and his staff have had contact with players only once during this unusual offseason. That was April 29th, when roughly a dozen Redskins reported to the facility on the day league owners briefly lifted the lockout to comply with a federal court order. Later that afternoon, an appellate court granted a stay of the lower court decision, and the lockout has remained in place ever since.
Since then, Redskins players have gathered for six days (three in May, three in June) for informal minicamps in an attempt to stay ready for whenever the lockout finally is resolved. Players also worked out together for two days in April.
The league’s owners and players began meeting Monday morning for a critical week of talks on a new contract. Both sides continue to hold out hope that a deal can be reached without any time missed.
Training camp again will be at Redskins Park in Ashburn. The team this winter had explored other options, including George Mason University, but started too late to complete the logistics for a camp away from team headquarters. The uncertainty of the lockout later caused team officials to stick with Redskins Park as the 2011 training camp site.