Ravens forced to move 2011 training camp

Assuming there is training camp later this summer, for the first time in franchise history, the Ravens won’t be holding it at McDaniel College in Westminster, MD.

Because of uncertainty around when the NFL lockout will end, the Ravens have been forced to move training camp from Westminster to the team’s Owings Mills facility.

“We’re disappointed we won’t be back at McDaniel and in Westminster this summer. We delayed the decision as long as we could,” Bob Eller, the Ravens’ vice president of operations, said. “There are logistics that needed to be addressed now, including McDaniel’s schedule, the hotel, the fields and other Ravens football functions. Right now, we don’t know dates for camp, and we’ve been forced to make other plans.

“One of the main issues we have is the time it takes to move our entire football operation to Westminster and then bring it back to Owings Mills. Those are days we can’t afford to lose as our team prepares for the season in what has become a condensed time period.”

The Ravens set a franchise record for training camp attendance last year, when over 110,000 fans attended the open practice sessions at McDaniel, where the team has held camp since the franchise started in 1996.

Those 110,000 fans will not be able to view the vast majority of training camp practices this year, as sessions at the Owings Mills facility will be closed to the public. The Ravens’ lease agreement with Baltimore County does not allow for fans to attend practices in Owings Mills.

“We don’t have the parking space for the fans, and the roads could not safely handle the type of crowds we attract,” team president Dick Cass explained.

While most practices will not be open to fans, the team says it will attempt to have “one or more” practices at M&T Bank Stadium, and those practices will be open to the public.

The Ravens also say they plan on returning to McDaniel College for future training camps. They are currently in talks with the school about extending their partnership, and expect to be back there in 2012.

“We hope to have a full NFL season in 2011, but the current timing compelled us to make this decision,” Cass said. “We waited as long as we could, but we’re beyond the dates when we could efficiently prepare for the move to McDaniel for a normal training camp start. We do fully anticipate, however, to be back at McDaniel next summer.”

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