Wentz, rookies looking forward to FedEx Field practice

Carson Wentz

ASHBURN, Va. -- After nine days of training camp at the Washington Commanders' headquarters in Ashburn, Va., the team is set to hold a practice in front of fans at FedEx Field on Saturday evening.

Saturday's practice will mark the first time several Commanders players arrive at FedEx Field, where Washington plays its home games. The group is really looking forward to the experience.

"I'm really excited to get out there," rookie quarterback Sam Howell said. "I haven't been yet. It'll be super cool to see our stadium.”

Howell is not the only quarterback who's yet to see FedEx Field. Rookie Cole Kelley, an undrafted free agent from Southeastern Louisiana, will also make his first appearance at the Commanders' home turf on Saturday.

Kelley, who praised Washington's fans for showing up to Friday's practice, believes the energy will be even better on Saturday under the lights at FedEx Field.

“It’s going to be exciting, for sure, to get some actual reps and play on the field we’re going to be playing games on and stuff," Kelley said. "It should be exciting, bring up the energy a little bit with the fans in the stands. It should be a good day.”

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Seventh-round pick Chris Paul is also eager to witness what the environment will be like. The former Tulsa guard said he plans to have both family and friends in attendance, too.

"It's going to be awesome cause if you think about it for a rookie, it will be our first time actually being inside and being on the field," Paul said. "So I feel like it will be good to get some fans out and see what that environment is all about.”

It's not just the rookies that are looking forward to the FedEx Field practice, either.

Starting quarterback Carson Wentz is plenty familiar with the stadium, as he's been on the visiting sideline five times (four starts) in his career when he was a member of the Eagles. Now with the Commanders, Wentz is thrilled to see what it will be like taking the field at FedEx Field as a member of the home team.

"It'll be fun. It'll be a different experience at FedEx for me than it's been in the past," Wentz said. "But I’m looking forward to it, looking forward to getting in there, seeing the home locker room, just getting a little glimpse of the energy at the home field. And it should be fun [Saturday] night under lights."

Like Kelley, Wentz also noticed the heavy contingent of Commanders fans present at Friday's practice. The 29-year-old hopes that same energy will carry over to Saturday night's session.

"You can feel the energy out here at practice, which makes it a little more enjoyable," Wentz said. "It makes it a little bit more competitive, naturally. But at the same time, it's super awesome to see them, you know, go interact with them after practice. The fan support has been great so far.”

Saturday night's session will also be a cool moment for franchise legend Ryan Kerrigan, who has spent the past week serving as an unofficial coach for Washinton following his retirement last Friday. 

Kerrigan, who spent the first 10 years of his career with the Burgundy and Gold, last was at FedEx Field in January as a member of the rival Eagles. The franchise's all-time sack leader is excited to return to FedEx Field as part of Washington's franchise once again.

“It’ll be cool. Fortunately, I got to go there last year when I was with Philly," Kerrigan said. "It was good to get back and good to see fans in there, too, because my last time playing here, it was the COVID year. So not having fans in the stands was a bummer. But yeah, it'll be good to be back.”