Back to work! Back to the business of football and trying to get one’s hands on the Lombardi (or if you’re New England, keeping it).

Sweating, fighting with teammates, coaches yelling at you, meetings on top of meetings, rookies and free agents trying to earn a spot, veterans trying to keep their jobs. It’s training camp in the National Football League and it’s getting hot in here.

NFL clubs will begin their on-field preparations for Kickoff 2015 this week, starting today with the Baltimore Ravens, Cleveland Browns and New Orleans Saints as their rookies report. Pittsburgh’s and Minnesota’s rookies and veterans will head to camp on Saturday, July 25, as the Steelers and Vikings become the first teams to fully begin training camp. By Sunday, August 2, all 32 NFL teams will be in camp.

More and more, teams are training at their regular-season headquarters or home stadiums. This year, more than half the league (20 of 32, 62.5 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 Steelers are one of the teams that “come together” away from home (Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, Pennsylvania).

“I love camp,” says Pittsburgh head coach Mike Tomlin of the Steelers’ training camp site in Latrobe. He told the Pittsburgh Gazette, USA Today and KDKA TV, “I love the environment where you get an opportunity to be singularly focused on football, live together and dine together. It’s a good environment for team building.”

It’s also a time when fights among players on the same team 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.

Hydrate like crazy. Drink water and Gatorade like it’s going out of style.

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.

The NFL training camp longevity king? The Green Bay Packers, who return on July 25 for their 58th consecutive summer at St. Norbert College in De Pere, Wisconsin.

It’s also a time where players will 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 and terminology 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.





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

Fans, are you ready for some football?

Here’s a look at the number of NFL teams that stayed home for training camp since 2000:


2000 – 5 of 31 (16%)
2001 – 5 of 31 (16%)
2002 – 7 of 32 (22%)
2003 – 12 of 32 (38%)
2004 – 12 of 32 (38%)
2005 – 15 of 32 (47%)
2006 – 13 of 32 (41%)
2007 – 17 of 32 (53%)
2008 – 14 of 32 (44%)
2009 – 17 of 32 (53%)
2010 – 17 of 32 (53%)
2011 – 19 of 32 (59%)
2012 – 18 of 32 (56%)
2013 – 19 of 32 (59%)
2014 – 18 of 32 (56%)
2015 – 20 of 32 (62.5%)

The longest active NFL training camp tenures, you ask?

Green Bay Packers – Saint Norbert College, De Pere, Wisconsin (58)
Minnesota Vikings – Minnesota State University in Mankato, Mankato, Minnesota (50)
Pittsburgh Steelers – Saint Vincent College, Latrobe, Pennsylvania (50)


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 at 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.

Some pre-season games of note on TV (All Times Eastern)


Sunday, August 9

NFL/Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio: Pittsburgh vs. Minnesota, 8 p.m. (NBC)

Preseason Week 2 (August 20-24)

Thursday, August 20
Buffalo at Cleveland, 8 p.m. (ESPN)

Sunday, August 23
St. Louis at Tennessee, 8 p.m. (FOX)

Monday, August 24
Cincinnati at Tampa Bay, 8 p.m. (ESPN)

Preseason Week 3 (August 27-30)

Friday, August 28
Detroit at Jacksonville, 8 p.m. (CBS)

Saturday, August 29
Seattle at San Diego, 8 p.m. (CBS)

Sunday, August 30
Houston at New Orleans, 4 p.m. (FOX)
Arizona at Oakland, 8 p.m. (NBC)