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Redskins Mark 40 Years In Virginia

The Redskins celebrated 40 years in the Commonwealth of Virginia by sending a contingent of team officials to Richmond, Va., for a reception with state leaders on Tuesday evening.

General manager Bruce Allen, head coach Mike Shanahan and Dwight Schar, member of the ownership group, joined Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and Scott York of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors at the reception, held at the Richmond Marriott.

"We're proud to be a part of the community," Allen said. "We want to be your neighbors, we're proud to be your neighbors and we see great things for our franchise in the future."

Added Shanahan: "I've really enjoyed my time in Loudoun County, Virginia. I didn't know that Virginia was all Redskins fans, so you live and learn."

The Redskins first broke ground on a Herndon, Va.-based practice facility and headquarters on June 2, 1971.

That same year, George Allen, Bruce's father, began his seven-year stint as Redskins head coach.

Called Redskins Park, the Herndon facility would become part of the Redskins legacy during the team's championship seasons from 1981-92. Joe Gibbs, then the head coach, would craft game plans into the early morning hours with his assistants. After practice, the famed "Hogs" -- mostly the offensive linemen -- would congregate in a nearby shed and drink choice beverages in what would be called the "5 o'clock Club."

Twenty-one years later, the Redskins had out-grown the site and the team moved to their current training complex in Ashburn, Va.

The facility is more than 70,000 square feet and features four football fields, strength training and sports medicine facilities, offices and meeting rooms and accommodations for print and broadcast media.

The Allen family has a long history with the state of Virginia.

Bruce Allen attended the University of Richmond and played college football for the Spiders from 1974-77. Bruce's brother George served as the governor of Virginia from 1994-98 and was a United States senator for Virginia from 2001-07.

McDonnell, who has served as Virginia governor since 2010, called himself a life-long Redskins fan and he added he was "excited to have an Allen back in charge of the Redskins."

"Not only is [Redskins football] marvelous entertainment, not only do we live and die with that Sunday afternoon Redskins game, but we also understand what you bring to the Commonwealth of Virginia," McDonnell said. "We know you have a D.C. link, we know you play on Sundays in Maryland, but we know you spend most of your time in Ashburn, Virginia. We're very grateful and excited about that."

Added Allen: "This is an exciting time for Redskins fans, it's an exciting time to be in the Commonwealth of Virginia, to have a leader like Coach Shanahan," Allen said. "You see all the time coaches trying to take shortcuts to win one game. Coach Shanahan is interested in continuing the legacy of the Washington Redskins."

Shanahan reiterated that he wanted to build a foundation of Redskins football that fans can be proud of, whether they're in Virginia or in another country.

"I promise you we're going to do it the right way," Shanahan said. "We're not going to take any shortcuts. And when we do get going in the right direction and we start winning the games that you all are accustomed to us winning, I think you'll see we're going to do things the right way."

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