Eagles' training camp to be held in Philadelphia this year

PHILADELPHIA -- No more summer commutes for Eagles players to Bethlehem.

The Philadelphia Eagles announced Friday that this year's training camp will take place in their NovaCare Complex and Lincoln Financial Field after 17 years on the campus of Lehigh University.

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Eagles president Don Smolenski says the decision was made, in part, because of the ready access to their equipment and facilities at their home base, including the training room and indoor practice venue, too.

Smolenski called it a difficult choice, noting the school and the city have "been part of our lives every summer for the past 17 years."

"There are so many people at Lehigh University who went above and beyond to accommodate us and to make training camp a special place for fans to travel each summer to get an up-close look at the team," Smolenski said in a statement.

The return marks the first time since 1943 that the team's training camp has been in Philadelphia.

Smolenski said the Eagles aim to continue their interaction with fans during the training camp - the dates of which have not yet been announced - calling that a "huge priority" for the organization.

Before first going to Lehigh in 1996, the Eagles held training camp at West Chester University from 1980 to 1995. Before that, the team held training camp at Widener University, Albright College and in Hershey, Pa.

The move back to team headquarters is becoming something of a trend in the NFL. The New York Giants in January elected to return training camp back to their complex in East Rutherford, N.J., after 16 years at the University at Albany.

Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press

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