2007 Training Camp Guide: NFC Team-by-Team


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Quick clicks to your favorite teams: Bears | Bucs | Cardinals | Cowboys | Eagles | Falcons
49ers | Giants | Lions | Packers | Panthers | Rams | Redskins | Saints | Seahawks | Vikings

Dallas Cowboys
• Location: Alamodome, San Antonio
• Camp dates: July 25-Aug. 8
• Team Web site | Training camp information/Practice schedule

• What Matt Mosley says: The Cowboys practice in the Alamodome, which takes its name from the famous landmark located only a few blocks away. The facility has all the warmth of a mausoleum, but at least you won't have trouble finding a seat. Make sure you have at least one meal at Boudro's on the River Walk. The restaurant fuses tastes from Mexico, east Texas, the Texas Hill Country and Louisiana, and it offers a nice view of the city's famous walkway. Order the mesquite-grilled Texas quail or the seabass. And if you're in the mood for golf, check out The Quarry Golf Club. It's a fun layout and the limestone from this old quarry was used on the state capitol building.

• What to do besides training camp: For those into history, San Antonio is a good vacation destination. Visit the Alamo, site of one of the most famous battles in American history. Take a tour of downtown San Antonio to learn about the city's rich past. If you're looking for something to do with children, visit the San Antonio Zoo, one of the best in the country, or the Six Flags Fiesta Texas theme park.

New York Giants
• Location: University of Albany, Albany, N.Y.
• Camp dates: July 28-Aug. 23
• Team Web site | Training camp information/Practice schedule | Directions and parking

• What Jeffri Chadiha says: Talk about your minimalist environments. Once you reach the campus of the University of Albany, you realize the Giants planned training camp in the right place; fans don't hang around as they do at other places. They line the sidelines during practices, but they usually vanish following each session. After that, the campus starts to feel like a compound controlled by Giants coach Tom Coughlin. The team's camp offers few social activities -- unless you're willing to drive into town.

• What to do besides training camp: The natural question to ask is, what is there to do in Albany? First, a family can take a tour of the state capitol building. Second, one can plan a day trip to Saratoga Springs. Albany also has a number of theaters, as well as a symphony orchestra for those into the arts.

Philadelphia Eagles
• Location: Lehigh University, Bethlehem, Pa.
• Camp dates: July 31-Aug. 15
• Team Web site | Training camp information/Practice schedule | Directions

• What Jeffri Chadiha says: One trip to the Eagles' camp at Lehigh and you'll think that you're attending an outdoor concert. Thousands of fans show up for each practice session, and they're as vocal as any group in the NFL. Many come to grab autographs from the players who are designated to sign each day, but most just want to be around the team. The only negative is the labyrinthine streets that wind throughout the campus. But the scenery – especially the lush rolling hills – makes it easier to deal with getting lost.

• What to do besides training camp: One of the largest music festivals in the country, Musikfest, takes place in Bethlehem from Aug. 3-12, when more than 300 performers from across the globe will descend on the city.

Washington Redskins
• Location: Redskins Park, Ashburn, Va.
• Camp dates: July 27-Aug. 8
• Team Web site | Training camp information | Practice schedule | Directions and parking

• What Jeffri Chadiha says: Here is another team that prefers to stay home for training camp. The benefit is that Redskins fans don't have to drive hours to follow their team. The downside is that Redskins Park can be a logistical nightmare. The parking situation can get pretty bad; the droves of fans who show up easily can create a frustrating gridlock on nearby streets. That said, this is another team with faithful followers who don't mind those kinds of headaches to get a peek at their squad.

• What to do besides training camp: There is a water park about 10 minutes from Ashburn in Centreville, and an animal park in Leesburg. The best part about Ashburn is that it is only 45 minutes from Washington, D.C., allowing a Redskins fan to watch training camp in the morning and return to the city in the afternoon.

Chicago Bears
• Location: Olivet Nazarene University, Bourbonnais, Ill.
• Camp dates: July 27-Aug. 18
• Team Web site | Training camp information/Practice schedule | Directions and parking

• What John Clayton says: Since moving to Bourbonnais, the Bears have set up one of the league's best camps for fans. There are so many interactive things for fans that it's almost like a small-scale Bears theme park. There are stands to sit and review the quickness of the defense. Fans line up outside of the ropes to watch the offense improve. Parking space is ample.

• What to do besides training camp: Kankakee, the next town over from Bourbonnais, is home to the second-largest state park in Illinois, as well as Exploration Station -- considered one of the top children's museums in the country. If fans are looking for an enjoyable activity, they should visit Splash Valley Aquatic Park. The Bears' training camp can be a perfect half-day trip for those looking to escape the congestion of a big city, indeed a big-shouldered, windy city.

Detroit Lions
• Location: Team practice facility, Detroit
• Camp dates: July 26-Aug. 22 (Closed to public)
• Team Web site

• What John Clayton says: The Lions close training camp practices to the public. Too bad. They have an incredible facility, which would be great for fans to tour. Obviously, this place is for business. The indoor facility is spacious and has plenty of standing room on the second floor to view the action. The outside field is nicely maintained and spacious, located on the outskirts of the Ford Motor Co. Each day at practice Bill Ford Jr. drives over a new car.

• What to do besides training camp: Since you can't watch the Lions training camp in the day, catch a Tigers game in the evening. One must also visit the Henry Ford Museum, with its impressive historical artifacts that include the Rosa Parks Bus. The museum also includes an eight-story IMAX theater. The Detroit Zoo has the world's largest polar bear exhibit; its National Amphibian Conservation Center features an indoor rainforest. And the Detroit Science Center is an excellent place for children to explore.

Green Bay Packers
• Location: Lambeau Field, Green Bay, Wis.
• Camp dates: July 28-Aug. 21
• Team Web site | Training camp information | Practice schedule | Directions | Parking

• What John Clayton says: It's fitting that a community-owned team has a community-based practice for training camp. Wisconsin natives plan their summer vacations around Packer practices. The team trains across the street from Lambeau Field, and police stop traffic to make sure players and fans make it over to the field safely and in a timely fashion. One of the highlights is watching kids lend their bikes to players, who ride with the youngsters across the parking lot on return to the locker room. It's one of the best scenes of summer.

• What to do besides training camp: Player accessibility is excellent at Packers' training camp. A visit to Lambeau in August is the best time to land an autograph from your favorite Packer. Green Bay has comfortable weather in the summer. It is home to a national railroad museum, the Packers Hall of Fame and Bay Beach Amusement Park. If you are in the mood for a day trip, catch a Milwaukee Brewers game at Miller Park.

Minnesota Vikings
• Location: Minnesota State University, Mankato, Minn.
• Camp dates: July 27-Aug. 15
• Team Web site | Training camp information | Practice schedule | Directions

• What John Clayton says: The Vikings continue to train at Minnesota State University, and there is no reason to leave. The Vikings practice off two fields. Morning practice is staged on the open practice field near the stadium, but the main events are scheduled in the stadium. It's one of the best settings for their annual scrimmage against the Chiefs. Vikings fans fill the seats and an announcer keeps everyone informed of the action when the team is practicing in the stadium.

• What to do besides training camp: Located in southwestern Minnesota, Mankato provides a relaxing atmosphere in the summer and enjoys a collection of beaches. It also has a civic center that has hosted internationally renowned ice events.

Atlanta Falcons
• Location: Team training facility, Flowery Branch, Ga.
• Camp dates: July 26-Aug. 18
• Team Web site (Training camp information not yet available on team's site)

• What Len Pasquarelli says: The Falcons' camp is about an hour's drive from Atlanta, so it's a little bit of a hike. But if you've got some time to kill, nearby Lake Lanier offers fishing, boating, water-skiing, beaches and an upscale resort hotel. And Helen, Ga., a picturesque getaway area in the north Georgia mountains, is an easy drive. Just don't tell the ladies about all the outlet malls in the area. Oh, yeah, stop at one of the roadside kiosks in Hall County and pick up some fresh produce or boiled peanuts.

• What to do besides training camp: Flowery Branch, on the shores of Lake Lanier, is in the development stage and its best selling point is the serenity. One place to visit nearby is the Elachee Nature Science Center, a good place for families as it has a preserve, interactive museum, live animal exhibits and more than 13 miles of hiking trails. Flowery Branch just added a Wal-Mart – something that excites members of the Falcons public relations department.

Carolina Panthers
• Location: Wofford College, Spartanburg, S.C.
• Camp dates: July 28-Aug. 22
• Team Web site | Training camp information | Practice schedule | Directions and parking

• What Len Pasquarelli says: One of our favorite summer venues, this is a training camp as it should be: tucked away in a terrific small school, with few distractions for players. Wofford College just happens to be the alma mater of Panthers owner Jerry Richardson, and the layout is excellent. Spartanburg is in the heart of a burgeoning R&D and manufacturing area, so you can make a trip to the BMW plant. Or, if you're really adventurous, hike down to one of the old mills on Lawson's Fork Creek or the Pacolet River.

• What to do besides training camp: Spartanburg features the world-famous Beacon Drive In. Huge portions, delicious tea and massive bowls of ice cream highlight a restaurant at which everyone in the family should find something to enjoy. Spartanburg is home to the only BMW plant in North America. The BMW Zentrum located next to the plant offers individual and group tours. Besides high-tech exhibits, one can see "art cars" designed by famous artists such as Andy Warhol and Frank Stella.

New Orleans Saints
• Location: Millsaps College, Jackson, Miss.
• Camp dates: July 26-Aug. 19
• Team Web site | Training camp information/Practice schedule/Directions

• What Len Pasquarelli says: The Saints will train for a second straight summer at Millsaps College. Pack a comfortable pair of shoes, because there's a lot of walking to do on campus, and many of the paths to the practice fields are unpaved. One practice field offers a view (across the highway) of the historic Veterans Memorial Stadium. And speaking of history, there is plenty of it in Jackson, especially if you're into antebellum studies. Famed author Eudora Welty lived only about three blocks from the Millsaps campus, and the school houses a collection of her papers.

• What to do besides training camp: The Atlanta Braves' Double-A affiliate, the Mississippi Braves, plays their home games about 10 minutes from Jackson at Trustmark Park. If you are a New Orleans native and want to taste your traditional cuisine, the place to eat is Que Sera. Looking for culture, visit the Mississippi Museum of Art and the Mississippi Blues Trail. It's also worth noting that Vicksburg, some 50 miles west, has a few casinos and some telling Civil War history.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers
• Location: Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex, Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
• Camp dates: July 27-Aug. 16
• Team Web site | Training camp information/Practice schedule

• What Len Pasquarelli says: The Bucs train at the Disney Wide World of Sports Complex, and the place is aptly named. Beyond the camp practices, there's almost always some kind of athletic endeavor taking place, whether it's an AAU basketball game at the Milk House or a soccer tournament on one of the several pitches that surround the Bucs' practice fields. And you can usually catch a baseball game, between practices, at the stadium where the Atlanta Braves play spring ball. Bring a couple bottles of water, because it's always hot here.

• What to do besides training camp: This training camp might be in the world's most convenient location. Disney World, Epcot Center, MGM Studios and SeaWorld are just a few of the places nearby one could visit. There is no need for a guide here.

Arizona Cardinals
• Location: Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, Ariz.
• Camp dates: July 29-Aug. 23
• Team Web site | Training camp information/Practice schedule

• What John Clayton says: Flagstaff is a little cooler than the 100-degree temperatures one can expect in Phoenix, but there is plenty of excitement – especially lightning storms – on the Northern Arizona University campus when the Cardinals practice. On any given day a storm cell can arrive quickly onto the scene and scare rookies. I've seen trees struck by lightning after some practices. The Cardinals' camp has one of the longest lines of autograph-seeking fans, and players often oblige those requests.

• What to do besides training camp: Watch Cardinals quarterback Matt Leinart throw passes in the morning and view the red rocks of Sedona in the afternoon. The Grand Canyon is but 80 miles away. Closer are the San Francisco Peaks and Sunset Crater.

St. Louis Rams
• Location: Team practice facility, St. Louis
• Camp dates: July 27-Aug. 19
• Team Web site | Training camp information/Directions | Practice schedule

• What John Clayton says: Rams fans can anticipate an easy time of it at team headquarters during camp. You can walk to the back of the team facility and have plenty of room to decide whether to watch the offense or the defense. Several restaurants are found nearby for fast food. It's also a great place to pack a lunch and watch the team train. Some of the offensive practices are the best in football because of their tempo and efficiency.

• What to do besides training camp: If you are planning on visiting the Rams' camp, try to work your schedule around the home games of the St. Louis Cardinals. Be sure to visit the Anheuser-Busch Center, which serves as a venue for youth and collegiate sports. Get an up-close view the Gateway Arch, which serves as the "gateway to the West." And should it rain during your stay, St. Louis also has an interesting mix of concert halls and art exhibits.

San Francisco 49ers
• Location: Team practice facility, Santa Clara, Calif.
• Camp dates: July 29-Aug. 24 (Nine sessions open; tickets are free)
• Team Web site | Training camp information/Practice schedule

• What John Clayton says: What's better than 49er camp? First, it's located on the outside of Great America amusement park, which could make for a great doubleheader for the entire family. Catch a morning or afternoon practice with one of the up-and-coming teams in football and slide over to the theme park. The 49ers train at their headquarters and have a nice setup for fans, with stands and refreshments.

• What to do besides training camp: Santa Clara is 45 minutes from downtown San Francisco; visit 49ers' camp in the morning and shop in Union Square in the afternoon. Other must-see places in San Francisco include Alcatraz, Pier 39, Golden Gate Park and the Ferry building.

Seattle Seahawks
• Location: Team practice facility, Kirkland, Wash.
• Camp dates: July 28-Aug. 16 (Closed to public)
• Team Web site

• What John Clayton says: The Seahawks close practice to the public now that they have returned to the team facility on the outskirts of Seattle, but that's only because their headquarters are located in a residential area. Next year, the team will move to nearby Renton and camps will be open to the public. The team relocated its camp out of Eastern Washington University, which has a nice campus … that's on the other side of the state.

• What to do besides training camp: Just east of Seattle, Kirkland offers many relaxation points to view the waters of Lake Washington. It also has art galleries that might be worth viewing. The best part about Kirkland is its proximity to the Emerald City; one can visit the Space Needle in the morning and watch a couple of hours of training camp in the afternoon.

(Note: The Seahawks have announced their annual scrimmage will be held Aug. 4 at Seattle's Memorial Stadium; tickets range from $5 to $10 and will be available starting July 23 through Ticketmaster and the Seahawks Web site. Also, the team will practice Aug. 8 at Husky Stadium; it is free and open to the public.)

• AFC Team-by-Team Training Camp Travel Guide