Josh Harris expects to attend Friday’s training camp rally at FedEx Field

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The Washington Commanders plan to host an open-to-the-public “training camp pep rally” Friday — an event at FedEx Field that the franchise says will feature appearances by defensive tackle Jonathan Allen, team alumni, mascot Major Tuddy “and MORE!” 

Emphasis on more.

Wink. Wink. 

Soon-to-be owner Josh Harris and his group are indeed expected to be at Friday’s rally, a source with knowledge of the situation said. The event, scheduled for 1 p.m., takes place a day after NFL owners are expected to vote to approve Harris’ $6.05 billion deal to purchase the Commanders from owner Dan Snyder. 

Harris is likely to make an appearance at the rally after he conducts a press conference, the source said. 

The Commanders’ advertisement makes no mention of Harris, but that’s likely because the sale has yet to be approved by the NFL. Owners, though, are scheduled to meet Thursday in Eagan, Minnesota — where a vote is expected to be taken. For the deal to become final, Harris must receive at least 24 of 32 votes from team owners. 

If all goes well, Friday’s event will be Harris’ first opportunity to address Washington’s fans in person. In May, when he and Snyder entered into a signed agreement, Harris said in a statement that he and his group of partners look “forward to running a world-class organization and making significant investments on and off the field to achieve excellence and have a lasting and positive impact on the community.”

Harris’ bid to buy the Commanders reportedly contains 20 limited partners — a group that includes Maryland billionaire Mitchell Rales and NBA legend Magic Johnson. 

The Commanders will be the third professional sports team in which Harris will be the majority owner. The 58-year-old billionaire, who built his fortune in private equity, also oversees the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers and the NHL’s New Jersey Devils. 

Harris has long chased owning an NFL franchise — he owns a stake in the Pittsburgh Steelers and once pursued buying the Denver Broncos  — but the Commanders hold special meaning as he grew up in Chevy Chase, Maryland.

“I experienced first-hand the excitement around the team, including its three Super Bowl victories and long-term winning culture,” Harris said in his May statement. “We look forward to the formal approval of our ownership by the NFL in the months ahead and to having the honor to serve as responsible and accountable stewards of the Commanders franchise moving forward.” Fans interested in attending Friday’s rally can RSVP by filling out a form that was posted on the team’s social media channels. The event will be hosted by former cornerback Fred Smoot and former tight end Logan Paulsen. 

The next-day turnaround from being approved as an NFL owner to an introductory press conference isn’t unheard of. Last year, the league signed off on Rob Walton’s $4.65 billion purchase of the Denver Broncos on Aug. 9 and then on Aug. 10, Walton and his family were introduced in Denver. 

Washington’s actual training camp begins Thursday, July 27 — though rookies will report to camp Friday, while veterans are required to show up on Wednesday.

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