For NFL Rookies, it’s back to a reality they once knew. For vets, it’s an annual routine, but let’s face it, does anyone long to go back to college for the residence halls? If you said yes, I’d like to know where you went to college. It’s safe to say most college students make the best of close quarters. That’s exactly what the Philadelphia Eagles players, coaches and staff, not so lovingly, look forward every year as they descend upon Lehigh University for Training Camp.
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Picture this if you will…you are a six-foot seven-inch tall, 300 pound, 26 year old, offensive tackle aka King Dunlap. Are you looking forward to the campus-style living with assigned teammates partnered with two-a-days? When you see reporters referring to players arriving to their “suites” they are not talking about hotel rooms. They are four bedroom two bathroom dorm rooms with small community living spaces. These athletes may live lavishly, but during the grueling days of training camp, not so much.
“It really is like being back in college again. Dorm rooms, curfew, eating with everyone in a cafeteria setting, but for us and all of our fans it’s the beginning of the season. We have a clean slate, the chance of a lifetime,” King Dunlap exclaimed. “Our ’work’ is doing what we love every single day so it’s absolutely worth it!”
For players and coaches the days repeat almost like the movie Groundhog’s Day. Wake up. Breakafst. Treatments. Practice. Lunch. Rest. Treatments. Practice. Dinner. Meetings. Bed by 10p.m. Lateness is simply not tolerated and for many athletes, their roster spots, hopes and dreams are at stake. None of this includes time for new players to study playbooks, sign autographs let alone even check in or visit with any family, friends or agents.
“A lot of guys bring whatever they can from home to make themselves feel comfortable. We don’t have a lot of time to chill, but we do get some Madden and (NBA) 2K12 in,” Dunlap shared.
The scenerey has changed slightly since last season, but some familiar faces have returned. Correll Buckhalter and Cory Peoples, both former Eagles players, will be assisting as coaching interns. Several other long-time members of the team are beginning their days on a new roster, but Eagles fans, we should all consider the season off to a great start. Players were in their suites on the Lehigh campus by 3 p.m. That’s four hours prior to the time they were asked to report! We quite literally have some happy campers.