New York Jets  

 

GM: Having camp at team facility gives Jets best chance to win

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In another example of the reality of this unusual NFL offseason, the New York Jets have decided to move their training camp to their Florham Park, N.J., facility.

The Jets spent the last two summers at SUNY-Cortland, some 200 miles away, and were planning to return this year. But with the NFL lockout reaching its 101st day -- and the Jets facing a July 1 deadline to notify Cortland of their plans -- the organization discussed the realities surrounding their situation and decided to scrap a camp setting that most believe has served them well.

"We felt it was best for the Jets that we hold our training camp here at our practice facility," Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum told the team's official website. "This was not an easy decision, but it's one we felt we needed to make in order to give us the best chance to win."

Clay Hampton, the Jets' senior director of operations, cited logistics for the decision to remain at the team facility.

"Training camp is a collaborative effort that requires many different departments to work together to be successful," he told The Associated Press, "and staying at our facility gives us the best chance to accomplish that goal. This is a new operation, but with the template we have in place from OTAs and minicamps, we are prepared for this scenario."

The Jets held offseason workouts, minicamps and training-camp practices in Florham Park in previous years.

The Jets are the second NFL team to move training camp to its home facility because of the time crunch created by the lockout. The Baltimore Ravens announced earlier in the week that they'll hold camp in Owings Mills, Md., rather than at their traditional site at nearby Westminster College.

Last year, 16 teams went away to camp, and 16 stayed home.

Tannenbaum said the Jets plan to train in Cortland in 2012, and SUNY-Cortland president Erik Bitterbaum told The AP that the university will have an extra year tacked on to its agreement with the team for the loss of this camp. That means the Jets also will be in Cortland in 2013.

"That's positive," Bitterbaum said. "They have a framework (for a settlement), but it's going to take time. With free agency, to get everybody up here and everything, they're going to run out of time."

The Jets have a bevy of high-profile free agents -- cornerback Antonio Cromartie and wide receivers Santonio Holmes, Braylon Edwards and Brad Smith among them -- and figure to be one of the more active teams in what's expected to be a frantic player-movement period that likely will spill well into training camp, pending a resolution to the labor dispute. As such, the Jets believe that doing business at home instead of a remote location is more ideal.

"We are disappointed, but we understand why the Jets management made this decision, and we're looking forward to hosting the team next year," Bitterbaum told The AP. "Our partnership remains strong, and we will continue to support the team as enthusiastic Jets fans."

The Jets plan to invite Cortland staff members and alumni to events at the New Jersey site and will extend their internship program for the school's students with interest in working at training camp.

Tannenbaum even reached out to a local eatery in Cortland, dialing up Mark Braun, who owns Doug's Fish Fry, located a half-mile from the college's entrance. Braun's small restaurant has become something of a home base for the team's fan club and a hot spot for fans, media and players. Braun was invited to cater for the players one day at the Florham Park training camp.

"Mike Tannenbaum personally called me at about quarter to 10," Braun told The AP. "He said, 'Mark, I've got good news and bad news. We're not coming back.'

"As a fan, of course I'm going to miss it, but I kind of expected it, I guess," said Braun, a Jets season ticket-holder for more than a decade. "But he said he appreciated all my support and did invite us to cater for the team when the labor dispute gets resolved. I don't really understand the labor dispute to get angry. I was so in awe that he called me. I'm just a little restaurant owner."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Follow Albert Breer on Twitter @AlbertBreer

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