Back to work! That’s where NFL players and coaches are headed as the first group of teams report to training camp this week. Six clubs will begin their on-field preparations for NFL Kickoff 2009 this week, starting withthe Cleveland Browns on Friday, July 24 when their rookies report.
Five teams will follow this weekend, starting with the Buffalo Bills on Saturday, July25 and then four more clubs on Sunday, July 26 – the Houston Texans, NewEngland Patriots, Philadelphia Eagles and San Diego Chargers.
EveryNFL team will be in camp by August 2.
Three clubs – the New Orleans Saints, St. Louis Rams and Tampa Bay Buccaneers – have opted to follow a growing NFL training camp trend by “staying home.” All three clubs will train at their home facilities in 2009 after being on the road last summer.
“I’m looking forward to practicing at our own facility,” says Tampa Bay tackle JEREMY TRUEBLOOD. “It will be nice to stay closer to home. For the players, it will be different and less stressful.”
Thisyear’s new crop of stay-at-home teams raises the number of clubs that will train at home to 17, representing more than half the league (53 percent). In 2000, only 4 of 31 (13 percent) teamsstayed close to home.
Here’s a look at the number of NFL teams that stayed home for training camp the past10 years:
|YEAR||NFL TEAMS WITH HOME TRAINING CAMPS (PCT.)||YEAR||NFL TEAMS WITH HOME TRAINING CAMPS (PCT.)|
|2000||4 of 31 (13%)||2005||15 of 32 (47%)|
|2001||5 of 31 (16%)||2006||13 of 32 (41%)|
|2002||7 of 32 (22%)||2007||17 of 32 (53%)|
|2003||12 of 32 (38%)||2008||14 of 32 (44%)|
|2004||12 of 32 (38%)||2009||17 of 32 (53%)|
Forthe Buccaneers, whose state-of-the art facility at One Buccaneer Place openedto rave reviews in 2006, being closer to home will be a welcome change forplayers and coaches alike.
“Ithink it’s great,” says Buccaneers linebackers coach JOE BARRY. “With a newfacility, it only makes sense to stay and use it. We have everything there that we need. That’s great news.”
TheSaints, too, are looking forward to having all the comforts of home at theirdisposal as they remain in Metairie, Louisiana this summer.
“As NFLtraining facilities evolve and develop, there is a trend to want to maximizethe exposure your team has to all of the amenities that help make training campsuccessful,” says New Orleans general manager MICKEY LOOMIS. “Trainingcamp is a very physically and mentally demanding period of time for theplayers, and by being able to utilize our facilities, we feel like it is thebest decision that we can make for our team.”
Thehomecoming is also great news for Saints fans across the Gulf Coast who’d liketo watch their team prepare this summer.
“Fansin New Orleans and in our entire region, from Baton Rouge to Lake Charles andfrom Biloxi to Pensacola, will have the ability to come out and watch our teamget ready for what will be a very exciting season,” says Saints owner TOM BENSON. “We are committedto our region. We remain committed todoing our part to strengthen our state and our city. I believe this is another step in thatdirection.”
Eachsummer, training camps mark not only the beginning of a new season, but alsothe end of an offseason filled with hard work, preparation and anticipation of what’sto come.
Thingshappen fast in the NFL. In just a fewshort weeks of training camp and preseason action, starting jobs and rosterspots are won and lost, and one team will embark on a memorable march towards aSuper Bowl championship. Players need tobe in top shape from Day 1.
Asthe Rams wrapped up their organized team activities this offseason, rookie headcoach STEVE SPAGNUOLO told hisplayers, “When we get back here together, we’ll hit the ground running.”
Playersacross the NFL are ready to sprint!
In addition to the Buccaneers, Rams and Saints, three otherteams – the Dallas Cowboys, New York Jets and Seattle Seahawks – will encamp atnew training sites this year.
While some clubs have changed their training bases in thepast decade, others return to familiar venues where they have spent their summermonths for years.
The NFL training camp longevity king? The Green Bay Packers, who return on July 31for their 52nd consecutive summer at St. Norbert College in DePere, Wisconsin.
The longest active NFL training camp tenures:
|Green Bay Packers||St. Norbert College||DePere, Wisconsin||52|
|Minnesota Vikings||Minnesota State Mankato||Mankato, Minnesota||43|
|Pittsburgh Steelers||Saint Vincent College||Latrobe, Pennsylvania||43|
The 2009 NFL training camp sites and reporting dates:
|Northern Arizona University||Flagstaff, AZ||29-Jul||29-Jul|
|Atlanta||Atlanta Falcons Training Facility||Flowery Branch, GA||31-Jul||31-Jul|
|Baltimore||McDaniel College||Westminster, MD||27-Jul||29-Jul|
|Buffalo||St. John Fisher College||Pittsford, NY||25-Jul||25-Jul|
|Carolina||Wofford College||Spartanburg, SC||2-Aug||2-Aug|
|Chicago||Olivet Nazarene University||Bourbonnais, IL||31-Jul||31-Jul|
|Cincinnati||Georgetown College||Georgetown, KY||30-Jul||30-Jul|
|Cleveland||Cleveland Browns Training Facility||Berea, OH||24-Jul||31-Jul|
|Dallas||Alamodome||San Antonio, TX||29-Jul||29-Jul|
|Denver||Paul D. Bowlen Memorial Broncos Centre||Englewood, CO||27-Jul||30-Jul|
|Detroit||Detroit Lions Training Facility||Allen Park, MI||31-Jul||31-Jul|
|Green Bay||St. Norbert College||De Pere, WI||31-Jul||31-Jul|
|Houston||Methodist Training Center||Houston, TX||26-Jul||31-Jul|
|Indianapolis||Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology||Terre Haute, IN||2-Aug||2-Aug|
|Jacksonville||Jacksonville Municipal Stadium||Jacksonville, FL||2-Aug||2-Aug|
|Kansas City||University of Wisconsin-River Falls||River Falls, WI||31-Jul||31-Jul|
|Miami||Miami Dolphins Training Facility||Davie, FL||2-Aug||2-Aug|
|Minnesota||Minnesota State University, Mankato||Mankato, MN||30-Jul||30-Jul|
|New England||Gillette Stadium||Foxboro, MA||26-Jul||29-Jul|
|New Orleans||New Orleans Saints Training Facility||Metairie, LA||30-Jul||30-Jul|
|NY Giants||University at Albany||Albany, NY||2-Aug||2-Aug|
|NY Jets||SUNY Cortland||Cortland, NY||27-Jul||30-Jul|
|Oakland||Napa Valley Marriott||Napa Valley, CA||29-Jul||29-Jul|
|Philadelphia||Lehigh University||Bethlehem, PA||26-Jul||29-Jul|
|Pittsburgh||Saint Vincent College||Latrobe, PA||31-Jul||31-Jul|
|San Diego||Chargers Park||San Diego, CA||26-Jul||31-Jul|
|San Francisco||Marie P. DeBartolo Sports Center||Santa Clara, CA||28-Jul||30-Jul|
|Seattle||Virginia Mason Athletic Center||Renton, WA||30-Jul||31-Jul|
|St. Louis||Russell Training Center||Earth City, MO||29-Jul||30-Jul|
|Tampa Bay||One Buccaneer Place||Tampa, FL||31-Jul||31-Jul|
|Tennessee||Baptist Sports Park||Nashville, TN||30-Jul||30-Jul|
|Washington||Redskins Park||Ashburn, VA||29-Jul||29-Jul|
2009 NFL PRESEASON NATIONAL TELEVISION SCHEDULE
(All times Eastern)
|Sunday, August 9||Pro Football Hall of Fame Game, Canton, Ohio:||NBC (8:00 PM)|
|Buffalo vs. Tennessee|
|Thursday, August 13||Arizona at Pittsburgh||ESPN (8:00 PM)|
|Monday, August 17||Carolina at N.Y. Giants||ESPN (8:00 PM)|
|Thursday, August 20||Philadelphia at Indianapolis||FOX (8:00 PM)|
|Friday, August 21||Tennessee at Dallas||FOX (8:00 PM)|
|Monday, August 24||N.Y. Jets at Baltimore||ESPN (8:00 PM)|
|Thursday, August 27||Miami at Tampa Bay||FOX (8:00 PM)|
|Friday, August 28||New England at Washington||CBS (8:00 PM)|
|Saturday, August 29||San Diego at Atlanta||CBS (8:00 PM)|
|Sunday, August 30||Chicago at Denver||NBC (8:00 PM)|
|Monday, August 31||Minnesota at Houston||ESPN (8:00 PM)|