Lehigh ‘Eager’ To Hear Eagles’ Training Camp Plans

The Eagles have held training camp at Lehigh University for the past 17 years. Whether that tradition will continue this season is very much up in the air.

Andy Reid found value in bringing his team to the quiet hills of Bethlehem, believing that it promoted team bonding. The Eagles continued making the trek each summer as more and more teams around the NFL opted to stay at home. The question now is whether Chip Kelly will have a different method of thinking than his predecessor.

The Eagles are under contract with Lehigh University through 2013, but have not yet committed to holding training camp there this summer.

“I can share that we are eager to hear the plans of the organization in light of the coaching change,” said Lehigh Dean of Athletics Joe Sterrett in an email Monday.  “We’ve been sensitive to the priority of getting a staff together and then preparing for and being away at the combine.  I expect that plans for mini-camps and camps will be resolved soon so that final preparations for the draft can occur without the stress of other matters.  For now, we wait.”

The number of teams going away for training camp is dwindling. Last year, only 13 of the  32 clubs held training camp on a college campus. In most cases, their own facilities are superior to the ones that they will find at the universities. Why pay someone else when there are better amenities at home?

Kelly is big on efficiency and maximizing practice time. One issue with Lehigh is that their indoor facility is not conducive to holding meaningful practices in. If it rains, the Eagles have been limited to walk-throughs. At the NovaCare, they can simply retreat to their bubble and proceed as planned for the most part.

There are advantages to staying at home but it comes at a cost, as fans would be largely cut out of the equation. You can have a few fan-friendly sessions at the Linc, but the NovaCare is not equipped to hold open practices. Training camp can provide an intimate setting for team and fan base. Much of that will be lost  if it is held in Philly.

Asked for an update Monday morning, a team spokesman only offered: “Nothing new.”

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  • ICDogg

    I do hope they continue TC at Lehigh. I like to get out there once or twice during TC.

  • Cali bleeds Kelly green

    Plz if we have a better chance to be better by training at home by having all the amenities of the bubble at nova care and better equipment do so if ur a true birds fan u will want this more than being able to see them play at a college setting where they wouldn’t be able to practice much because of weather we need all the reps we can get with a new system being implemented and no excuses as to why practice had to be stopped or why this player or that player doesn’t understand something or isn’t strong enough plz train where we are suppose to rather than place where we can’t because of weather conditions real fans want wins we have a top of the line training facility use it we can do with out the circus for concentration purposes and better work ethic

  • xlGmanlx

    OTA’s at Lehigh and training camp at home? As a fan, it would stink to miss out on an opportunity like that, but the fans are just here to provide the cash in the new NFL.

  • PaoliBulldog

    As nice as it is to have training camp in quaint surroundings, Kelly’s fanatical attention to practice details requires a facility that doesn’t succumb to rain delays. Jerry Richardson built the Panthers a top-notch facility at his alma mater, Wofford College, and that worked out nicely for both. I’m not familiar with Lehigh’s layout, but I wonder if the football fields and buildings could be upgraded so that the tradition could continue. I’m sure Lehigh wouldn’t mind.

  • SomertonEaglesFan

    I have attended training camp twice and it has been a great experience. As a franchise that has been criticized in the past for ignoring its fans, I think the Eagles should continue with TC at Lehigh and continue to make it a worthwhile experience for the fans. Maybe Jeffrey Lurie should consider building an indoor practice bubble for Lehigh.

  • JofreyRice

    I’m curious to know if strategically, they’d prefer to practice at Novacare. It seems like they’re being very vague about anything concerning how the team will look on the field next year, scheme, philosophy, etc. Do they want to limit the accessibility of practice to maximize that element of surprise?

    • UKEagle99

      I would scout other teams open practices, especially if I played them twice a year. In a game of inches there’s a lot to be said for a competitive advantage.

    • ohitsdom

      I’m also curious how long they are going to hold on to this secrecy. Through mini camps and training camp? Preseason? In the past Chip Kelly has talked about knowing what you do well, and that the whole offense should know what play you are going to call in certain situations. I wonder if that will be given up to be more unpredictable in the NFL.

  • Cooper

    Team bonding? You had your star (?) Corner Back eating lunch in his car and the Defensive Line Coach calling the “Flip Flopped” Defensive Coordinator, Juanita! All under the watchful eye of it’s Head Coach! Good Luck, Kansas City!

  • NickS1

    Never made it to a training camp. While I’m sure it would be a cool experience, I’m more concerned with this team getting back to winning. If practicing in the best facility available means wins at the expense of less fanfare/media exposure, I’m good with it.

  • ICDogg

    If for some reason Chip Kelly thinks there is a good reason to practice in the Novacare instead of Lehigh, I can’t disagree, but I don’t necessarily think there is.

    There will be 90 players and 20 coaches on the field. They don’t need to be in a bubble unless there is severe weather.

    • limodriver27

      ICDogg and PaoliBD…CK’s fanatical “attention to practice detail” becomes his built-in excuse to ditch Lehigh and snuggle himself in the private seclusion of NovaCare. With all the amenities that NCare offers, I’d be quite surprised if Lurie sinks $$$ into a facility that appears to being a piece of Eagles training camp history. Granted that the burb of Lehigh loves the windfall from those camp weeks, it might be time to transition to the “home practice field” advantage. Just a thought…

      • ICDogg

        Maybe, maybe not. I mean, TC is a strange time. There are twice as many people practicing. Not sure if they want to do all of that in the Novacare and furthermore where is everyone staying at this time?

  • defroe81

    :( they gotta do what they gotta do. im from bethlehem so i say it would be good if they keep the tradition.