Commentary: The NFL training camp blues

Published on Tuesday, 25 July 2017 21:48 - Written by REID KERR, Sports Correspondent


To give you a little hint as to how big of a deal that is in my household, please note that I have capitalized all of those words. That’s not in the AP Style Manual, that’s just the way they happen in my head.

Finally, football is back!

But as they say, “Not so fast, my friend.”

OK, camps are open and yes, the first preseason game is set for less than two weeks away. And if you just glance at it on TV, it looks like football. But it still isn’t much to get excited about.

Training camps are “sort of” football, in the way that a sound check is sort of a concert, or being on an elevator with a pretty girl is sort of like having a date with her. Every year thousands of people show up to cheer and yell and sweat and get autographs from stars and guys who’ll be cut from the team in a couple of weeks. It’s tradition.

I’ve been to my fair share of football training camps for radio and TV, and the only things I actually learned from them are which media members are rich enough to pick up your bar tab, and which ones I was going to hate later. I’m actually glad I don’t have to go any longer, and I can save my disappointment for the regular season when I accidentally watch a Bills game.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s better than following mid-season baseball for a team that’s already out of hope. And it definitely is more enjoyable than discussing which NBA guy is already demanding a trade. And it beats Skip Bayless, in any capacity.

If you’re just going to see random players, I can understand the appeal. Paying for NFL game tickets for a whole family may require you to sell one of them for spare parts. Camp is free. But in the end, the only stories that come out of training camp are pure speculation.

In terms of excitement and big stories, camps rank right up there with the World Series of Scrabble and my neighbor stopping me in the yard to show me videos on his phone of his vacation to the Grand Canyon. (“Wow, Bob. That really is a big hole, isn’t it? Can I go yet?”)

Still, it’s football. I’ll put it down and goof on it, but I’ll still pay attention. There’s always a free agent who wows us on his way back to working at Lowe’s. Someone will get into a fistfight at camp, but hopefully no one gets stabbed with scissors. There’s usually an unfortunate injury to someone on your fantasy football team.

And once in a blue moon, Quincy Carter happens. Other than that, just relax, stay hydrated, and hang in there. Real football is still coming.

Reid Kerr talks a lot, as his wife always reminds him. Reid’s second book, “I Hate It Here: A Love Story,” is out now on You can always tweet questions, comments, and angry messages to him at @reidaboutit.