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Mailbag: Should training camp be longer?


There has been talk that the NFLPA could propose doing away with spring practices and making training camp longer. I seem to remember that back in the Tom Landry era training camp was nearly two months. What are your thoughts on this? – Ronald Williams/Los Angeles, CA

Nick Eatman: No thanks. I don't think the NFL will ever go back to that. For one, it doesn't seem to make sense to go back to something in the past. The reason they had no offseason was because some of the players had to get real jobs. Now, the pay is obviously much better and this has become a year-round business. If they do have a longer break and then had a longer training camp, the first couple of weeks would probably be used for conditioning purposes anyway. This way, they stay in good shape, and probably use like 3-4 days before starting practice again. Also, the NFL loves the fact that they stay in the headlines for about 45 weeks of the year. I just don't see that happening.

Patrik: … I hate it. And if you're looking for me to expound upon that take a bit more, OK sure. I feel there's a reason some coaches, including Mike McCarthy, have already spoken out against the possible change, and that's because there's a science to how things are being done in the spring and summer with the current schedule of offseason programs. By allowing players back into the building as early as the beginning of May, it requires players to begin ramping up after nearly three months off, and the new proposal is to extend that to, what, four or five months? I don't know about you, but this seems like basic physiology to me. Granted, most (MOST) players are still working out in the offseason, but can you guarantee to what extent? And the longer anyone is away from something, the more challenging it is to get back into the groove of it. I understand the "summer ramp-up" would be designed to help that, but I have nightmares of a player(s) returning after more than four months away and suffering a major injury as they try to get back into the swing of things. I'm old school in my train of thought (e.g., I remember two-a-days in the summer heat and practices meant hitting in the spring) but, on this one, you can refer to my first three words: I hate it.

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