Nearly 25,000 Washington Redskins fans were the stars of the show at Redskins Park this afternoon, as the organization held its annual Training Camp Fan Appreciation Day.
The organization welcomed the public in for its annual Training Camp Fan Appreciation Day, giving many their first up-close look at the 2012 Redskins team and rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III, the team's first-round (No. 2 overall) selection in April's NFL Draft.
The 2012 season is the Washington Redskins' 80th as an NFL franchise; its 75th in the D.C. area.
"We've finally got the franchise headed in the right direction," said Redskins fan Kevin Huntington of Fredericksburg, Va. "They got their draft picks headed in the right direction, and we've hopefully got our franchise quarterback."
Among those in attendance Saturday were Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and Loudoun County Chairman at Large Scott York, each of whom were presented with personalized Redskins jerseys in celebration of the team's recent agreement to retain its headquarters in Loudoun County.
"I want to say thanks to this partnership," McDonnell told the crowd prior to the start of practice. "You've made Loudoun County a great home for a long time for the Redskins — it's going to be the permanent home."
York, meanwhile, thanked the governor for his support.
"We're so excited for what the governor's leadership has done by making sure that the Redskins' permanent home is here in Loudoun County in the commonwealth of Virginia," York told the crowd. "And all I want to say this morning: Redskins are No. 1 for the season this year. Go Redskins!"
Festivities prior to the Redskins' two-hour practice included performances by the Redskins Marching Band and Cheerleaders.
After practice, Redskins' executive vice president and head coach Mike Shanahan addressed the crowd.
"I really think you're going to love this football team this year," Shanahan said. "We have more depth and more competition than we've had in a long time. And I guarantee you, with the depth that we've got, the type of attitude that we have, you're going to be very, very proud of this football team."
Redskins owner Daniel M. Snyder told reporters after practice that he was happy to see such a great turnout by Redskins fans who were eager to see both the team and Griffin III.
"This was the topic of the draft — a Heisman quarterback," Snyder said. "It's a big deal for everyone, and for Redskins Nation, it's as good as it gets. It's exciting for us."