It’s almost that time.

When rookies try to impress coaches, veterans try to keep their jobs and free agents try to keep their dreams of a career in the National Football League alive.

It’s also a time when fights among players trying to make NFL rosters take place.

It’s gonna get chippy.

It’s gonna get hot.

There might be some sweat and bug spray involved.

32 teams, fighting for a chance to be in Super Bowl 50 in February 2016 make the first step toward that goal when training camps open all over the country. Think of it as the NFL’s answer to Spring Training for MLB. Camps start with 90-man rosters and those rosters have to be cut down to 53 when things kick off for real in September.

Some teams will have their rookie class come in first so that there are no distractions, while other teams want everyone in at the same time.

It’s also a time where you’ll do a lot of reading and studying if you’re a QB, RB, TE or WR. Those playbooks you had in college? The ones in the NFL make those look like the funny papers. It’s a lot to digest, especially if you’ve learned plays differently. Think of it as hearing something in Greek and try to translate it into Hebrew.

Do well and you’ll get a spot on a roster.

Stumble and you may hear a ballboy or trainer come to your room and say “coach wants to see you and bring your playbook.” That means you’re getting cut.

In the heat and humidity, you’ll catch more balls than ever, get yelled by your coaches and fans but in the end, if you do well, you’ll be on an NFL roster and that’s a lot better than selling insurance.

For fans, it’s a chance to see their team before things get underway and it gives them a chance to evaulate their team in their own way and meet their new players. Hydrate, use that bug spray and mind your manners. After all, these guys have work to do between now and September. This is the time of year where Super Bowls are won and sometimes lost. The preseason gets underway August 9th in Canton when Pittsburgh and Minnesota square off in the Hall of Fame Game, while the 2015 regular season starts September 10th when the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots (who may or may not have Tom Brady) host the Pittsburgh Steelers in Foxboro in primetime.





Did I mention studying the playbook that makes “War & Peace” look like the Sunday funnies?

It’s a lot of work to hoist the Lombardi.

Fans, are you ready for some football?


Following is the training camp list of sites and rookie and veteran reporting dates:

Baltimore – Under Armour Performance Center, Owings Mills, Maryland (Rookies 7/22, Veterans 7/29)
Buffalo – St. John Fisher College, Pittsford, New York (Rookies and Veterans 7/30)
Cincinnati – Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati, Ohio (Rookies 7/27, Veterans 7/30)
Cleveland – Cleveland Browns Training Complex, Berea, Ohio  (Rookies 7/22, Veterans 7/29)
Denver – Paul D. Bowlen Memorial Broncos Centre, Englewood, Colorado (Rookies 7/27, Veterans 7/30)
Houston – Houston Methodist Training Center, Houston, Texas (Rookies 7/26, Veterans 7/31)
Indianapolis – Anderson University, Anderson, Indiana (Rookies and Veterans 8/1)
Jacksonville – Florida Blue Health & Wellness Practice Fields, Jacksonville, Florida (Rookies 7/27, Veterans 7/30)
Kansas City – Missouri Western State University, St. Joseph, Missouri (Rookies 7/28, Veterans 7/31)
Miami – Doctors Hospital Training Facility, Davie, Florida (Rookies and Veterans 7/29)
New England – Gillette Stadium, Foxboro, Massachusetts (Rookies 7/23, Veterans 7/29)
New York Jets – Atlantic Health Jets Training Center, Florham Park, New Jersey (Rookies and Veterans 7/29)
Oakland – Napa Valley Marriott, Napa, California (Rookies 7/26, Veterans 7/30)
Pittsburgh – Saint Vincent College, Latrobe, Pennsylvania (Rookies and Veterans 7/25)
San Diego – Chargers Park, San Diego, California (Rookies and Veterans 7/29)
Tennessee – Saint Thomas Sports Park, Nashville, Tennessee (Rookies and Veterans 7/30)

Arizona – University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Arizona (Rookies 7/28, Veteran 7/31)
Atlanta – Atlanta Falcons Training Facility, Flowery Branch, Georgia (Rookies and Veterans 7/30)
Carolina – Wofford College, Spartanburg, South Carolina (Rookies and Veterans 7/30)
Chicago – Olivet Nazarene University, Bourbonnais, Illinois (Rookies and Veterans 7/29)
Dallas – River Ridge Playing Fields, Oxnard, California (Rookies and Veterans 7/29)
Detroit – Detroit Lions Training Facility, Allen Park, Michigan (Rookies 7/28, Veterans 8/2)
Green Bay – St. Norbert College, De Pere, Wisconsin (Rookies and Veterans 7/29)
Minnesota – Minnesota State University – Mankato, Mankato, Minnnesota (Rookies and Veterans 7/25)
New Orleans – The Greenbrier, White Sulpher Springs, West Virginia (Rookies 7/22, Veterans 7/29)
New York Giants – Timex Performance Center East Rutherford, New Jersey (Rookies and Veterans 7/30)
Philadelphia – NovaCare Complex, Philadelphia, Pennsyvlania (Rookies and Veterans 8/1)
St. Louis – Rams Park Training Center, Earth City, Missouri (Rookies 7/27, Veterans 7/31)
San Francisco – SAP Performance Facility, Santa Clara, California (Rookies 7/27, Veterans 7/31)
Seattle – Virginia Mason Athletic Center, Renton, Washington (Rookies and Veterans 7/30)
Tampa Bay – One Buccaneer Place, Tampa, Florida (Rookies 7/27, Veterans 7/31)
Washington – Bon Secours Training Center, Richmond, Virginia (Rookies and Veterans 7/29)

Note: The first official practice of training camp for each club at the site designated above is generally held the day after the veteran reporting date.