Back to work!
NFL clubs will begin their on-field preparations for Kickoff 2014 this week, starting today with the Baltimore Ravens, Buffalo Bills and San Francisco 49ers as their rookies report. Buffalo’s veterans will follow on Saturday, July 19, as the Bills become the first team to fully begin training camp. By Sunday, July 27, every NFL team will be in camp.
More and more, teams are training at their regular-season headquarters. This year, more than half the league (18 of 32, 56 percent) will be “staying home” for training camp. In 2000, only five of 31 (16 percent) teams stayed close to home.
The numbers may prove home-base popularity is a growing league-wide trend, but there are still teams employing the “old-time” philosophy of encamping away.
The Minnesota Vikings are one of the teams that “come together” away from home (Minnesota State University, Mankato in Mankato, Minnesota).
“It’s a beautiful setup, the facilities are outstanding,” says Minnesota head coachMIKE ZIMMER of the Vikings’ training camp site in Mankato. “We’re excited to get going in Mankato.”
The NFL training camp longevity king? The Green Bay Packers, who return on July 25 for their 57th consecutive summer at St. Norbert College in De Pere, Wisconsin.
New Orleans will conduct portions of their training camp away from the Saints’ training facility in Metairie, Louisiana for the first time since 2009. The Saints will hold training camp this year at The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia.
“By splitting training camp between New Orleans and The Greenbrier, we will have a great opportunity to further enhance our training camp in 2014,” says Saints head coach SEAN PAYTON. “We all understand the importance of training camp and ultimately, that’s to get the team ready for the regular season. As far as the time we will spend at The Greenbrier, it offers a tremendous opportunity to our team in a more moderate summer climate.”