MCLEAN, Va. (AP) — Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe is making no secret of his desire to lure the Washington Redskins to his state with the promise of a new stadium.
At the Redskins’ annual preseason luncheon Wednesday, McAuliffe made a public, passionate case to owner Dan Snyder, boasting about Virginia’s economy and connection to the military. McAuliffe said that 66 percent of season-ticket holders live in Virginia, which also has a substantial military population.
“I want to thank the Redskins for being such a great economic driver,” McAuliffe said. “We have your headquarters. We have your training facility. What else could there possibly be? Let me say this, Dan: Think about Virginia.”
McAuliffe previously said during an appearance on Snyder-owned radio station ESPN 980 that Virginia and the Redskins were in “very serious negotiations” on a stadium deal. The team’s current lease at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland, expires in 2026.
Virginia has been lobbying for a stadium dating to 2013 when Bob McDonnell was governor. If it were to happen, it would likely be built in Loudoun County, home of Dulles International Airport, where the Redskins have their practice facility and where a majority of players live.
During a radio appearance on news radio station WTOP Wednesday morning, McAullife said any deal would have to make sense for Virginia taxpayers and added that he would give the Redskins the time and respect that a major state employer deserves.
At the Redskins’ luncheon, he trumpeted Virginia’s military might, saying that the state has 800,000 veterans or active duty personnel — more than the total population in some locations. That was a gentle jab at Washington city councilmember Jack Evans, who was in attendance.
“The largest naval base in the world, 27 military installations, the Pentagon — we have it all, folks,” McAuliffe said. “So Dan, if you’re thinking because you love our military, what a better way to honor our military, our veterans and active duty, than make an easy commute for them to go see a game with the Redskins.”
Cornerback DeAngelo Hall, a Chesapeake, Virginia, native who played college football at Virginia Tech, has a connection to Richmond — his aunt, Louise Lucas, a state senator. Asked about bringing the Redskins’ stadium to Virginia, Hall said: “We’ve been trying. We’ll see.”
In his address to the crowd of 600 plus 27 active players and 24 alumni, Snyder did not respond to McAuliffe’s stadium sales job.
Online: AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and AP NFL Twitter feed: www.twitter.com/AP_NFL
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