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The Long Wait Ends – First Of NFL Training Camps Set To Open As Denver Broncos Report On Wednesday For Beginning Of League’s 100th Season

The Long Anticipated NFL Training Camp We’ve waited patiently. We’ve counted the days. We’ve even watched sports we don’t even like. Now comes our reward. NFL training camps are...

(Photo Credit: Kevin C Cox)

The Long Anticipated NFL Training Camp

We’ve waited patiently. We’ve counted the days. We’ve even watched sports we don’t even like.
Now comes our reward.

NFL training camps are here. Not games. Not even preseason games. But training camps.

Which means practices. Intrigue. Battle for roster spots. Contract holdouts. News you can chew on.
How we’ve missed all of this.

The Denver Broncos start the madness of the NFL’s marquee 100th season on Wednesday when rookies and veterans report, with their first practice on Thursday. They get a bit of a head start because they will be playing in the Hall of Fame game Aug. 1 against the Atlanta Falcons. All be open next week.

Once upon a time, teams departed for remote destinations to bond (drink beer and break curfew) and sweat themselves into shape through six preseason games. Now there are labor talks focusing on eliminating some of the four-game preseasons and stretching the regular season to 17 or 18 games.

Those trips to such destinations as Platteville, Wisconsin; Mankato, Minnesota; and Rocklin, California, are history. This season, 22 of the NFL’s 32 teams will train within 10 miles of home. In 2000, only 10 did so. The convenience of equipment and taxpayer-funded improvements to practice facilities demanded that change. Those taxpayers like to come out and see a practice or two.

In another trendy move – one that used to lead to wild training camp brawls – 20 clubs have arranged for play dates (joint practices) with others. That gives each team’s players fresh bodies to work against and adds a bit of intensity to this sweaty stretch of summer.

From Aug. 1-3, the Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Chargers will practice together and against each other. Even the super-secret New England Patriots will get on the field with another team, joining the Tennessee Titans for a workout on Aug. 14 in Nashville.

OK, that really isn’t much to sink the choppers into. It’s not exactly the Super Bowl. It’s not even a preseason game with the starters taking three snaps.

But it is football. NFL football (pardon the redundancy).

Welcome back. Good to see ya. Now get to work.

 
 
Post By: Larry Weisman, a longtime sportswriter for USA TODAY, blogs for Twistity.com. Follow him on Twitter @MrLarryWeisman

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