By STEPHEN WHYNO
AP Sports Writer
ASHBURN, Va. (AP) — Kevin Durant was among those in attendance for the second open practice of Washington Commanders training camp Friday.
The NBA star now playing for the Phoenix Suns grew up in the area in Seat Pleasant, Maryland, not far from the team’s home stadium. Durant took in practice on the hottest day of the year so far from the suites atop the newly constructed bleachers on the sideline and was followed out by a group of fans, many taking photos or video and yelling, “KD!”
“It’s great to have KD here,” coach Ron Rivera said after practice. “I know he’s a local guy. I know how much of a Washington Redskins/Commanders fan he is. Great to have his support.”
Durant’s presence is the latest positive sign of the Commanders in the spotlight since the new ownership group led by Josh Harris and including basketball Hall of Famer Magic Johnson took over last week, when the NFL approved the $6.05 billion sale from Dan Snyder.
“It’s great to have the fanbase back,” Rivera said. “This has been really cool the last couple days. It has. This is exciting. To have guys like KD come back and show their support means an awful lot to us.”
Friday was the second consecutive day more than 3,000 fans braved the heat for practice at the team’s practice facility not far from Dulles International Airport.
“It feels good,” safety Kam Curl said. “Everybody’s coming out to practice, all the stuff on social media. You feel the excitement, and that just gives us motivation to come out and play harder.”
Running back Jaret Patterson, like Durant a Maryland native, said Thursday that seeing so many fans at practice reminded him of his days attending camp as a kid when the lines of Clinton Portis and Santana Moss were playing for Washington.
“It’s a fresh start, new era,” Patterson said. “It kind of gave me flashbacks. … Seeing the food trucks, seeing kind of a packed house and stuff like that, it’s kind of dope. It’s like reliving my childhood.”