Jets opt for NJ training camp
The New York Jets aren't going away to summer camp.
Because of the lockout, the team has decided to pass on its annual trip to Cortland, N.Y., opting to hold training camp at its facility in Florham Park, N.J.
"With all the variables presented by this unique offseason, we felt it was best for the Jets that we hold our training camp here at our practice facility," general manager Mike Tannenbaum said in a statement. "This was not an easy decision, but it's one we felt we needed to make in order to give us the best chance to win."
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The Jets trained at SUNY Cortland, located 30 miles south of Syracuse, in 2009 and 2010. When Rex Ryan was hired as coach in 2009, it was his desire to have training camp at a remote location, even though the team had just completed a state-of-the-art practice facility in Florham Park.
This will mark the first training camp there. Prior to Cortland, the Jets held camp for four decades at their previous year-round home, Hofstra University, in Hempstead, Long Island.
Once the lockout reached June, the Jets started to formulate contingency plans, realizing there was a good chance they'd have to stay home. Logistically, it takes more than a couple of weeks to move the operation on the road. Because the latter half of July will be spent on free agency -- assuming the owners and players agree to a new collective bargaining agreement -- the Jets decided to eliminate the headache of moving.
"We are disappointed, but we understand why the Jets management made this decision, and we're looking forward to hosting the team next year," SUNY Cortland president Erik Bitterbaum said. "Our partnership remains strong, and we will continue to support the team as enthusiastic Jets fans."
The Jets will honor the remaining two years on their contract with Cortland. Studies indicated that the Jets' three-week presence in Cortland last summer pumped about $5 million into the local economy.
The Jets will invite Cortland staff members and Cortland alumni to events at the New Jersey site, and will extend their internship program for Cortland students with interest in working at training camp. Tannenbaum even reached out to a local eatery in Cortland.
He dialed up Mark Braun, who owns Doug's Fish Fry, located a half-mile from the college's entrance. His small restaurant has become something of a home base for the team's fan club and a hot spot for fans, media and players. Braun was invited to cater for the players one day at the Florham Park training camp.
"Mike Tannenbaum personally called me at about quarter to 10," Braun said. "He said, 'Mark, I've got good news and bad news. We're not coming back.'
"As a fan, of course I'm going to miss it, but I kind of expected it, I guess," said Braun, a Jets season-ticket holder for more than a decade. "But he said he appreciated all my support and did invite us to cater for the team when the labor dispute gets resolved. I don't really understand the labor dispute to get angry. I was so in awe that he called me. I'm just a little restaurant owner."
Rich Cimini covers the Jets for ESPNNewYork.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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