The 2012 season, free of lockouts and court battles — outside of BountyGate and the current lockout of game officials — gets underway for real across the country as rookies and vets take to the practice fields.
A total of 18 teams will work from home in 2012. That is a much-higher number than the five clubs that used their own facilities in 2000. The league stayed in single-digit away-from-home camps until 2003, when 12 of 32 clubs took to the road. The high-water mark was 19, set last season in the wake of the NFL lockout.
The three-longest running team-training camp site partnerships span at least 47 years:
Green Bay Packers – St. Norbert College (DePere, WI) – 55 years
Minnesota Vikings – Minnesota State-Mankato (Mankato, MN) – 47 years
Pittsburgh Steelers – St. Vincent College (Latrobe, PA) – 47 years
The one constant is the battle for roster spots. With the expansion of camp rosters to 90 per team, there are a total of 2,880 players working for 1,696 regular-season slots (53 per team).
The veteran reporting dates in order:
July 23: Arizona
July 24: New Orleans
July 25: Atlanta, Baltimore, Buffalo, Chicago, Denver, Green Bay, New England, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Diego, Washington
July 26: Cincinnati, Cleveland, Detroit, Jacksonville, Kansas City, Miami, Minnesota, New York Giants, New York Jets, San Francisco, Tampa Bay
July 27: Carolina, Houston, Seattle, Tennessee
July 28: Indianapolis, St. Louis
July 29: Dallas, Oakland
The 2012 preseason schedule begins with the traditional Pro Football Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio on August 5 as New Orleans and Arizona meet in Fawcett Stadium.