Ravens will continue to hold training camp in Owings Mills

The Ravens have announced that they will continue to hold training camp at their Owings Mills headquarters going forward.

The team had conducted training camp in Westminster, Md., at McDaniel College for the first 15 years in its history, but moved camp to Owings Mills this summer.

Team officials cited convenience, efficiency and the conditions and space at their team facility as the primary reasons for the decision.

"We've had long, serious discussions about this decision, and, when all is said and done, we believe we can better prepare for the season by holding training camp here as opposed to McDaniel College or any other facility away from here," team president Dick Cass said. "We wanted to let the officials at McDaniel and at the hotel (Best Western) know as soon as we made the decision.

"We owe much thanks to the leadership at McDaniel for their patience as we came to this decision and for all the outstanding help they have given the Ravens through the years. They have been a great partner, often going out of their way to make sure we could prepare our team at a high, high level."

Steve_Bisciotti-Dick_Cass-sidebar.jpgCass said cost did not play a factor in the team's decision to keep camp in Owings Mills, saying that because of training camp sponsors and partners, the Ravens did not lose money in Westminster.

It more came down to the fact that the team is able to accomplish more in Owings Mills. Cass and Newsome pointed out that facilities at the team's headquarters are conducive to the best practices, especially in poor weather when the team can quickly move to their indoor field without losing practice time. At Westminster, the team was forced to practice in a gym when the weather was bad.

Cass and Newsome also believe that the team has outgrown the Best Western Hotel in Westminster which had housed all team personnel and all of their football operations. They also made the point that technology requirements and lack of meeting space in Westminster also make Owings Mills a better option.

"In 1996, Westminster was the best place for us to have training camp," general manager Ozzie Newsome said. "How teams conduct training camp today is vastly different. Our football needs and requirements are different."

Team officials acknowledged that one major negative that comes as a result of this move is that fans will not be able to watch practices on a daily basis, as they had in Westminster.

That's a large part of the reason team owner Steve Bisciotti said he has mixed feelings about the decision.

"From a football and team point of view, it's an easy decision," Bisciotti said. "Personally, this is difficult. Some of my best memories as a kid are my family's visits to the Colts' training camp in Westminster. Part of my devotion to the game and the players who made it great and are heroes to many of us, started on those visits.

"We completely understand that this takes away an important part of our connection with our fans. I regret that. Hopefully, we can find other ways to continue this outreach. We'll have more to say on this as we develop these programs."

Cass said that the team is committed to having, at the minimum, three practices away from Owings Mills that would be open to the public, with at least one of those coming at M&T Bank Stadium.

"We will have smaller groups of fans at practices here (at Owings Mills) and will have other community activities that include access to players and coaches," Cass said. "We want to do something in Westminster, and we are discussing some ideas. These will all have to fit into the first priority: getting the team ready for the regular season."

"We'll miss having all those fans at practice," head coach John Harbaugh said. "It was fun having them so close and, at times, pushing the team to higher levels with the way they cheered and encouraged us."

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