My father and I attended a sales pitch for Redskins suites and club seats last night at FedEx Field. This is the third [and final] of these night-time events the Redskins are holding this offseason, which are billed as a chance to meet General Manager Bruce Allen and eat free food -- for the first and last time -- at Dan Snyder's expense.
I'll say this about the evening -- it was actually rather pleasant. I was expecting a very high-pressure sales atmosphere, with Redskins employees constantly pestering me to lay down thousands of dollars on club seats. Instead, the sales pitches were low-key and respectful. I was pretty impressed.
After signing in, we were taken upstairs to the club level, walking past the glass-enclosed case of Sean Taylor's locker and uniform. It's a bit eerie, like a shrine. You're then allowed to wander around the club seats as extremely eager Redskins salespersons encourage you to drop $3-4 thousand per seat. Interestingly, the stadium -- though still cursed by a terrible location -- is quite beautiful when empty. The new hi-def video screens over each end zone are a big improvement, though nothing to rival what Jerry Jones has done for his Cowboys in Dallas.
After sitting through a brief sales pitch, the crowd of us [about 100] listened to Bruce Allen talk about Redskins past and what he envisions for the future. He took a number of audience questions, some of which I found quite un-enlightening, though Allen was respectful, if humorous, at all times. I'll say this about Allen -- he's a natural. He was smooth and polished last night, in the best way, leading me to think he's a more natural politician than his older brother, the infamous former Senator George "Macaca" Allen.
In the crowd with us was Redskins legend Larry Brown, one of the best running backs in franchise history. Allen, who grew up on the sidelines watching Brown run for his father, then coach of the team, mentioned Brown frequently during his discussions with fans.
Before answering questions, Allen addressed the Albert Haynesworth issue, saying he expects Haynesworth to be in training camp on time and in shape. If not, he hinted the team would use every legal means at its disposal to punish Haynesworth. He wouldn't get into specifics, but it seemed clear Redskins management has no patience for Haynesworth and expects top-notch effort and performances from him...or else.
When asked specifically about WR Santana Moss, who has been dogged by rumors of steroid abuse in connection with a federal investigation of a Canadian doctor, Allen asserted Moss is not a subject of the investigation and would have no problem participating in training camp and the entire season. Moss, Allen said, is healthy and free of any connection to the steroid scandal.
Allen mentioned Donovan McNabb and 4th round draft pick Perry Riley, a linebacker, as people to watch this season. He also called McNabb and ILB London Fletcher the team's runaway leaders in the locker room. When asked about Terrell Owens, Allen made it clear the team has no interest in signing him. Statements by Mike Shanahan and Allen leave no room for doubt about Owens, which will make it difficult for them to change course if Devin Thomas and Malcolm Kelly continue to perform as if they're still on scholarship.
Oh, and the food was fine. Nothing special, but it was free so who can complain. Free beer, wine and soda, too. Below, enjoy a photo I took of the event. I don't want to slow the site down with all the photos, so to see everything from last night, head on over to this thread in our Redskins Forum.