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Patriots announce dates they’ll be at Redskins training camp

Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) walks through a play with tight end Rob Gronkowski (87) during a stretching and drills session before practice begins at the NFL football team's facility in Foxborough, Mass., Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2013.

Richmonders will get three opportunities to see the New England Patriots practice in August.

The Patriots and Washington Redskins announced Monday they will hold joint practices each day from Monday, Aug. 4 through Wednesday, Aug. 6 at the Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center.

All sessions will be free and open to the public. Practice times will be announced at a later date.

Joint practices have grown in popularity since the NFL lockout in 2011, when the new Collective Bargaining Agreement limited the amount of time teams could spend in full-contact practices.

By working with the Patriots, the Redskins will be able to better evaluate their team in scrimmage situations.

New Redskins coach Jay Gruden conducted similar practices last year with the Cincinnati Bengals, but this will be the first time the Redskins have done so since the lockout.

The Redskins used to hold scrimmages against the Baltimore Ravens. One such session in 2007 drew 50,000 fans to FedEx Field, though no score was kept.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick has been a big advocate of the workouts, and is working to schedule sessions with the Philadelphia Eagles this summer.

In a press release, Richmond mayor Dwight C. Jones expressed his excitement upon hearing the news of the Patriots’ visit.

“Who would have guessed that we’d have two NFL teams playing football right in the center of our city?” Jones said in the release. “Our state-of-the-art training facility is generating excitement and exposure for Richmond, Virginia even beyond what I envisioned.”

An average of 6,000 fans watched each session of last year’s training camp, the first held in Richmond.

Those numbers were lower on weekdays, though the extra interest generated by the Patriots is expected to provide a bump this year.

The practices will lead up to the teams’ first preseason game, on Aug. 7 at FedEx Field.

mphillips@timesdispatch.com

(804) 649-6546

@michaelpRTD

Redskins and Patriots: Popularity contest
The Washington Redskins and New England Patriots are two of the best-known sports franchises nationally, and will bring their star power to Richmond in August:Franchise value: Forbes magazine values the Patriots at $1.8 billion, second-highest in the NFL. The Redskins, at $1.7 billion, are No. 3.

Popular quarterbacks: Tom Brady’s jersey was the fourth-highest seller last year. Robert Griffin III’s jersey was No. 11.

Lombardi trophies: Both teams have won three Super Bowls.

Against each other: The Skins are 6-3 all time vs. the Patriots. They next meet in 2015, in New England.