Fenty on Redskins: 'We'll Get Them Back'
Mayor Adrian M. Fenty said during an appearance on "Washington Post Live" Thursday evening on Comcast SportsNet that he wants to have the Washington Redskins back playing in D.C. "as fast as humanly possible."
Fenty (D) said it "was a big mistake" when the city allowed the team to leave for its stadium in Landover, now named FedEx Field, where it began playing in 1997. Fenty said discussions have begun with the Redskins but refused to attach a timetable to the franchise's potential move back to the city.
"We want to get that done," Fenty said. "But that is an expensive, longer-term project, but one we're working on. The Redskins should play in Washington, D.C. I think it would be great to have a brand-new stadium, one that could accommodate a Super Bowl. So stay tuned."
The mayor said the Redskins' successful start to this season does intensify interest in the project.
"I think it does," he said. "I mean, there are so many technical things involved. Our team, the city team, has really looked at what it would take to both bring the team back here, build a new stadium, et cetera. It's a complicated proposition. But if people were around D.C. when the Redskins won the Super Bowl and in the quote-unquote heyday of past years, there's nothing like it in Washington, D.C. There's nothing like the excitement and having a Super Bowl team, walking around after the Super Bowl. So we want all that to come back to the city. It was a big mistake letting them leave, but we'll get them back."
Two teams in the Redskins' division, the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants, are building new stadiums. The price tag for each project exceeds $1 billion. Fenty said the major obstacles to bringing the Redskins back to Washington will be the franchise's lease at FedEx Field and the desire of Maryland officials to keep the team in the state.
"The biggest issues to deal with on a stadium like that are one, the owners have a longterm lease out there and just like any other longterm lease you can't just break leases and it's expensive to get out of them and it would be expensive for us to buy them out of one," Fenty said. "The other thing is the state of Maryland is heavily involved in that. The state of Maryland would be in play, and we understand that. They're not going to want to let the team go.
"But as Jack Evans has pointed out on the city council, that land could probably be used for a lot of other valuable things. We have a stadium site sitting here ready, willing and able to go. A new stadium could go on there. We could probably donate almost all of the land to the stadium and, I think, build a brand-new stadium that could accommodate a Super Bowl that has all of the new trappings of new stadiums. So I think there's a win-win in it. We've got a lot of work to do before we put it together and have a proposal. We have started to talk with the Redskins officials, but I'd be lying and misleading if I said that it would happen, you know, right away or in the near term. But we just want it to happen as fast as humanly possible."
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