Any player coming to Eagles training camp for the first time should know one thing: Andy Reid is trying to kill you. Well, maybe not, and it’s probably foolish to compare what NFL players go through at Philadelphia’s two-week camp at Lehigh to what Bear Bryant’s “Junction Boys” endured at Texas A&M. But after reading this story about the Eagles’ training camp in the DELAWARE COURIER-POST, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t want any part of it.
Basically, Reid will have none of this “safety” talk or “trying not to get starters injured.” While other coaches eschew contact drills, Reid thrives on them, working his team in full contact drills with pads. And as other coaches have moved practices to the evenings in the aftermath of Korey Stringer’s death, Reid has barely nudged, with his only concession being to move the morning practices up 15 minutes while keeping the afternoon drills smack in the middle of the day.
Needless to say, not everyone is prepared for it. If you’re lucky, a veteran will let you know ahead of time to basically come to training camp in 100 percent shape (isn’t it called training camp for a reason?). If not, you just show up like Chris Clemons did as a rookie last season and find out the hard way. He passed out last training camp from dehydration, and wound up missing all of preseason with a calf strain.
“There’s no way you can prepare for it,” said linebacker Omar Gaither, about to participate in his fourth Eagles camp.”If nobody tells you, you don’t realize how bad it’s going to be. You’re like, “It’s camp. Everybody has camp.’ No, camp here is NOT like everybody else’s. You have to come in and you have to realize that it’s going to kick you in the pants.”
Personally, this doesn’t sound like a great recruiting tool for free agents: “Come to Philly and we’ll try to kill you during training camp!” And some have questioned if Reid’s draconian methods work, especially since the Eagles have a history of being slow starters (going 5-6 in September the last three seasons).
Still, I’m not going to cry too many tears for millionaires who have to work extra hard for two weeks a year. Although if it’s so successful in whipping players into shape, shouldn’t Reid have his kids running marathons in Death Valley every day?