Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti and the team released a lengthy statement about the decision to permanently move training camp from Westminster to the team’s headquarters in Owings Mills when that decision was announced in December. On Wednesday, Bisciotti was asked about appeasing the many disappointed fans.
"It's our job to get them comfortable with things that we do,” Bisciotti said. “We talked about getting out there and making some open practices at the stadium and in some other places. I'd like to get one down to Annapolis. It's my neck of the woods. So, maybe we can talk with Navy and maybe get it down there in the summertime, which would be good. We can get you all down to McGarvey's [Saloon & Oyster Bar] and have some fun down there.”
For the first time in their history, the Ravens held training camp at their facility last summer, a decision that was necessitated by the NFL lockout stretching into July. But the team decided to stay there instead of returning to McDaniel College -- where the franchise had held training camp since arriving in Baltimore in 1996 -- for good for logistical reasons. On Wednesday, Bisciotti stated again that the decision wasn’t an easy one, and that it is the team’s job to “create that access” the fans had to the players when camp was held in Westminster.
“It hurts me personally, and yet, the NFL is a different animal than it was when I was a little kid,” Bisciotti said. “We didn't have fences in Westminster when I was a little kid. We got our pictures and our autographs from these guys by walking with them from the dorm to the practice field and then walking back. There might have been 200 kids there, and everybody got their time. I don't ever remember waiting in line to get my picture done with Raymond Berry. And now, you've got 1,000 people out there that are pushing and shoving, and it's not the kind of environment [it used to be]. We'll take care of the tykes. We'll figure out a way to get some open practices and get the autographs and get that interaction. We'll do a good job of that.
“And, it is very, very bittersweet to have to come to the conclusion, finally, that it is in our best interest, from a football perspective, to do that here instead of Westminster."