Post NFL lockout, Fan Appreciation Day at Redskins Park

Redskins quarterback Rex Grossman signs autographs at Redskins Park, Saturday, in Ashburn. (AP Photo/Luis M. Alvarez)

By Sunlen Miller

ASHBURN, VA—In a sea of burgundy and gold, thousands of fans came out to see the Redskins practice today, showing their spirit even after an off season of uncertainty.

Don Engel from Lake Bridge, Virginia literally had the uncertainty spray painted all over his shirt. Expressing a little visible frustration, Engel took a red can of spray paint and painted a large “X” on his Donovan McNabb jersey, who was traded to the Minnesota Vikings in late July.

“I have a half a closet full of jerseys every time I bought a jersey they trade the player or he gets cut, and I have to keep buying a new jersey,” Engel lamented, “So this year I am going to wait. Wait and see who’s who and then I’ll buy a jersey.”

This week was the first week of Redskins Training Camp, after a tumultuous summer caused by the NFL lockout. Fans today were relieved and happy the team is back.

“We’re very happy it’s over. I can’t imagine having a fall and winter with football,” Sarah Harmon from Fairfax Virginia, said. She came out today to witness her first training camp, “I’m just real excited to be a part of it.”

Seeing the players up close and personal gave some new hope today. Cookie from Washington, DC says that the lockout really got fans, “downed out,” as there was a lot of confusion when and if the teams would return to the field.

“When we had the lockout that was truly emotional for all of us football fans,” Cookie from Washington DC said, “So being out here today for fans appreciation day it’s little the biggest thing ever right now. Almost like a relief letting us breathe of letting us breathe because its football season again.

Today was all about the fans. The Redskins team showed their support for the fans who support them during the season. From the marching band blasting the Redskins fight song, to the Redskins cheerleaders – the event was meant to smooth hurt feelings from last season and get fans excited for the upcoming season.

“I’m here to see what these players have to go through and basically to cheer them on and root them on,” Dan Pena from Washington, DC said.

And in a day where fans were appreciated, there was one thing across the board that fans really would appreciate much more than anything else: a winning season.

“Win. Just win. That’s the bottom line,” Matt Tutko from Front Royal, Virginia says, “Once you start winning everyone will start coming back.

“Win,” Mike Preston said, “That’s the easiest thing to do is win.”

Just one week into their official practice season after the lockout impasse was solved, the preseason starts next week.

“Have a good season, we love you,” a fan yelled as Redskins wide receiver Santana Moss as he ran onto the field for practice today.