OWINGS MILLS – Although the Baltimore Ravens remain in talks with McDaniel College officials regarding the possibility of returning training camp to the campus of the private liberal arts school, holding camp at their Owings Mills training complex is another strong possibility that the team is considering.
The Ravens conducted training camp at team headquarters this year for the first time since their arrival in 1996, citing the logistical difficulties of moving operations late in the summer due to the NFL lockout.
Now, the team is deciding whether it makes sense to hold camp in Westminster in the future.
“I wouldn’t be shocked either way, if they kept camp at their facility or if they were back here,” said Ethan Seidel, McDaniel vice president of administration and finance and the point man for the college in negotiations with the Ravens. “It’s not out of the realm of possibility that they would stay at their facility. You can see what they like about that, but you would hope they continue to see the benefit to the fan base.
“We’ll keep working with them from our end and try to give them the best scenario we can. We want to make it as difficult a decision for them as we can. We’ve had a really great relationship with them. They’re a good organization to work with. We hope it continues.”
Both the team and the college emphasized that their conversations have been positive.
And team owner Steve Bisciotti has often referenced his affection for Westminster, recalling his childhood when he attended the Baltimore Colts’ camps at the former Western Maryland College.
Ravens vice president of operations Bob Eller said that no decision is imminent at this time.
“I have been in discussions with Ethan over the last year or so, discussing various options for the future,” Eller said. “We’re right in the middle of the season, so it’s difficult to totally address at this point in time. We’re talking.
"We’re keeping all of our options open at this point in time. What’s important for us is to have a general consensus in the organization as to what’s the best scenario for the team to get ready for the season. It’s a fluid situation.”
Keeping camp at the Ravens’ practice fields in Owings Mills means not having to transport equipment, computers, weights, medical supplies or deal with multiple other logistical issues that go with moving camp to Carroll County. So, the convenience of having camp in Owings Mills is one consideration as well as financial issue to ponder.
Not having camp in Carroll County, though, would undoubtedly disappoint thousands of fans who have enjoyed the tradition of watching practice. It’s been estimated in the past by local officials that the Ravens’ summer presence provides a significant boost to the local economy in excess of $1 million annually.
The Ravens have accommodated fans by holding a free open practice at M&T Bank Stadium last summer, and that’s likely to continue wherever they hold camp.
“We just go by our discussions with the Ravens, and those are continuing,” Seidel said. “Certainly, I can understand as an organization that they need to look at all of their options and evaluate them and do what’s best from their perspective. All of our discussions we’ve had have been focused on McDaniel, what we’ve done well in the past, a d what we can do better.
“We want to continue to build on the success we’ve had in the past. That’s our total focus. Since they’re between contracts right now, certainly their due diligence would be to look at all their options. Having camp at their facility or an off-site facility, that’s for them to really evaluate as far as the tradeoffs between the convenience and the fan base and the public relations aspect. I know they value all of that, too.”