WASHINGTON — Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan is withdrawing effort to convince the Washington Redskins to stay in Maryland.
Hogan spokesman Amelia Chasse said in a statement that the administration is not continuing discussions with the team “at this time” over the the site in Oxon Cove Park near MGM National Harbor. The Washington Post first reported this story on Tuesday.
Chasse said that though Hogan is not going forward with the team, the administration is “moving full steam ahead with acquiring state control of the Maryland Gateway in Prince George’s County from the federal government.”
“We believe this site holds significant potential benefits for the region and the state, as does the proposal to expand protected federal parkland in Western Maryland. We are working closely with our federal partners to finalize the transfer.”
This announcement signals a reversal from Hogan’s statements in December, when he cheered the negotiation of a nonbinding land-swap agreement with the U.S. Interior Department to give Maryland control over a 300-acre piece of federal land near MGM.
This agreement would have paved the way for the Redskins to build their proposed new stadium in Prince George’s County.
Maryland Matters reported last week that Hogan was willing to work on the land swap but that his administration expects Prince George’s County officials to take the lead in negotiating a stadium deal.
The move reflects a recognition on the part of Hogan and his staff that the Redskins have lost much of their luster under Dan Snyder’s nearly 20-year ownership of the team and that keeping their distance from the unpopular owner is a smart move for a politician whose stock is on the rise, Maryland Matters reported.
Prince George’s County Executive Angela D. Alsobrooks has said, while she values the Redskins, she is unwilling to divert funds from higher priorities — such as health care, public safety and education — to keep the team from leaving Maryland.
Hogan is not abandoning his effort to acquire the Oxon Cove site for other purposes, according to The Washington Post, but he has halted talks with the Redskins.
FedEx Field — the current home of the Redskins — is leased through 2027, and Snyder wants a new field. He’s signaled his desire to return to D.C., but Hogan’s withdrawal from negotiations means the loss of Snyder’s bargaining chip.
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser has been reportedly trying to bring NFL football back to D.C., specifically to the RFK site the Burgundy and Gold once called home. In early December, The Washington Post reported that the club was working with both the Mayor’s office as well as Republican Congressional members to fit a provision into the federal spending bill that would loosen the laws on the way the land is intended to be used, paving the way for a potential NFL stadium on site. But efforts had stalled, and a spokesman for Bowser’s office told WTOP that there’s “no agreement between the team and the District.”
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam hasn’t signaled any interest in bringing the Redskins to his state.