Last week, the Philadelphia Eagles decided to have their summer workouts in the city limits the first time since World War II. Team officials announced that Eagles training camp will be held at the Nova Care Complex, the franchise’s practice facility located in South Philadelphia. In each of the previous 17 seasons, training camp was held at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, approximately a one hour drive north of Philadelphia. Having camp at Lehigh was something that former head coach Andy Reid looked forward to every season. Reid really enjoyed the traditional concept of getting away from it all so that he, his staff and players could focus solely on football.
However, with the hiring of Chip Kelly, came a completely different mentality. One of convenience and modern technology. Kelly spoke vividly about the move: “I like the fact that we’re there, because we’re there all year long. There’s not a transition. You’re not moving, picking things up, going somewhere, and then turn around and coming back. Part of what I always wanted to do is get our guys in a rhythm of, ‘This is how we do things’. The only thing that changes is the schedule starts to change, but we’re in the same spot. I think there’s a comfort level from being in the same spot. The other thing that was amazing to me is when you see that building and what it can provide to our players, from a rehabilitation standpoint, our weight room, video, all those other things are right there.”
Sure, it won’t have the same feel and access for fans who were used to being very close to the players in the friendly confines of Lehigh University, but having every tool available at the Eagles’ headquarters should be a major plus for the entire organization. It is well noted that more than 20 NFL teams now hold training camp at their own practice facility. In addition, the Eagles mentioned that there will about a half dozen open practices for fans to attend during camp at Lincoln Financial Field. This also gives people that live in the city who otherwise couldn’t make the trip up to Lehigh a chance to see the team workout front and center. Although the intimacy of taking a that family field trip is gone, the Eagles had to change with the times.