Redskins could play twice in London next season
LONDON (AP) The Washington Redskins could become the first NFL team to play two games in London in one season - in consecutive weeks, no less.
The Redskins will face the Cincinnati Bengals on Oct. 30 at Wembley Stadium, the NFL announced Wednesday. Washington also could wind up facing the St. Louis Rams a week earlier at Twickenham Stadium, depending on the Redskins' finish in the NFC East this season.
''Really? Two? In one year? Really? Hmmmm. I never heard of that,'' Redskins safety Dashon Goldson said after practice in Ashburn, Virginia, on Wednesday.
While some of Washington's players sounded eager to play a game in Britain, including those who've never been overseas, the prospect of a pair of weeks there did not sound all that enticing to everyone.
''I don't want to be out there that long, man,'' cornerback Will Blackmon said. ''You can't really enjoy it. You get there, first of all, (and) you've got to get adjusted to (the time) difference. That alone. And it is a business trip.''
In the first of the three London games scheduled for next season, the Indianapolis Colts will take on the Jacksonville Jaguars at Wembley on Oct. 2.
The NFL has been playing regular-season games in London since 2007, with every one played at Wembley, the home of England's national soccer team. But next year will start a new deal to hold games at Twickenham, the home of England's national rugby team.
The Redskins will travel to London for the first time since 1992, when they played the San Francisco 49ers in the American Bowl, a preseason game held at the old Wembley Stadium. But they could end up in England for a bit longer than any other team that has been heading across the Atlantic Ocean since the New York Giants beat the Miami Dolphins in a regular-season game in 2007.
In Wednesday's announcement, the NFL only said the Rams would face an NFC East opponent.
''Washington may play in consecutive weeks in London in 2016, depending on the final standings,'' the NFL said. ''At minimum, they will face the Bengals in Week 8.''
Redskins defensive lineman Ricky Jean Francois' take?
''I just hope we don't leave London, then fly back here and go back,'' he said. ''Let's just stay over there and have a good time, that's all. Just treat it like home. London will be like a new home for us.''
St. Louis might face the Giants, Philadelphia Eagles or Dallas Cowboys, instead of Washington. But the announcement of the Rams' London game was also met with questions: the operator of the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis responded almost immediately by saying the team's lease agreement prohibits it.
A St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission spokesman declined to speculate about what steps the organization might take to keep the team from playing in London.
There is uncertainty whether the Rams will even belong to St. Louis by then. Owners of the Rams, San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders are all exploring moves to Los Angeles, perhaps as early as next season.
The Bengals and Colts will also be playing in London for the first time, while the Jaguars will be returning for the fourth straight year.
''I'm a big soccer fan and I love Europe and I love England,'' Bengals defensive tackle Domata Peko said. ''Whenever I'd see other teams going to England, I wished we were one of those teams.''
This season, the Jags won for the first time in London, coming back to beat the Buffalo Bills 34-31.
Earlier this month, the NFL said it would stage at least one game per season starting next year at Twickenham, which recently hosted the Rugby World Cup final between New Zealand and Australia.
The agreement is for three years, with an option for two more.
The NFL has also agreed to play at least two games per season at Wembley through 2020, and has reached a 10-year deal to play at least two games at Tottenham's new soccer stadium starting in 2018.
That means there will be a minimum of five regular-season NFL games in London in 2018 - two at Wembley, two at Tottenham's stadium and one at Twickenham.
The NFL said there is also a possibility of adding another game outside of Britain next season.
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