NFL training camps signal the start of America’s favorite season

from Martin Rogers
FOX Sports Columnist

Aaaaaand we’re back.

A kind. Sure, NFL training camp is the calm before the storm, but it’s more activity than talk, and at least football-wise, summer break is over and classes have resumed.

By now, every NFL team is fully in session.

Different teams have different schedules and rookies work on their own timelines, but here we are at last. It’s July 26, which means if you’re an NFL player, you’ve reported to camp and you’re ready to go — so here we go again on the merry old cycle of American football obsession.

The way the NFL calendar works may not be intentionally designed to play with our internal rhythms, but it still has that effect.

The frenetic nature of the postseason, when there’s no room for pause and where dreams go to die, gives way to all those endless months we’ve just lived through, when the slow pace of summer makes it feel like football at times. it will never come back.

Of course, it always is, and the six weeks of waiting ahead are some of a football follower’s most precious time, or should be.

This is July-meets-August-meets-early-September—wonderful days when everyone has some hope, where no one’s team has suffered an embarrassing slide, no one’s quarterback has shown himself to be a fool, no team has is affected by a crisis injury and the limitless possibilities that sports fans talk about are still real and present.

If summer is so frustrating for football fans because there’s simply nothing to do but wait for snippets of news – which for some reason seem to come in bunches and then leave days and weeks blank – this next period is where the action is. necessary. to participate in.

This is when the smart minds have already put their fantasy game into action, with a lot of attention paid to early training camp moves, some smart sleepers hidden on a piece of paper somewhere, and a close bead on which beginners seem to be running early favor.

For those whose sartorial style is more about loyalty than elegance, there are new jerseys to buy and game schedules to memorize, of course, to avoid unthinkable conflicts with spoilers. bad viewing pleasures like weddings and shopping trips. and sports games for children.

More than anything, this window serves as a cool teaser for the time ahead, when all the features and transactional developments that were revealed over the summer can be brought to life.

That’s why NFL seasons are so mischievous. I’ll bet good money that there have been moments over the past few months when you’ve wondered why there wasn’t more going on in the NFL, wondering how such a large and all-encompassing league could offer days so devoid of activity. worthy of the title.

These sentiments are a product of the reality that football is such a part of American life that it takes nothing more than a few quiet afternoons in the rumor mill for something to be felt.

It was, indeed, an off-season that was filled with incident and intrigue. It just hasn’t always felt that way because, well, six months is a long time.

But just think of all the things that have happened since we saw Matthew Stafford and the Los Angeles Rams hoist the Vince Lombardi Trophy in February.

Tom Brady completed his dizzying cycle of retirement rumors, official retirement, retirement rumors, and official retirement, all in the span of a few dramatic weeks.

Aaron Rodgers’ relationship with the Green Bay Packers finally found a resolution when he signed a contract that will pay him close to a million dollars a week and seems to ensure he remains a guy with one team forever.

Some big bromance broke, with Davante Adams and Tyreek Hill proving that the wide receiver market is an absolute hoot — certainly at the end of it — finding new parking spots in Las Vegas and Miami, plus a truckload of cash.

QBs were getting paid massively, Kyler Murray being the most recent and Lamar Jackson the rarest of exceptions, with that gilded group leading even more than Rodgers’ deal from the impressive package given to Deshaun Watson from the Cleveland Browns, despite the continued uncertainty surrounding . its immediate availability.

There are battles for the starting spots in Seattle (Drew Lock and Geno Smith) and Pittsburgh (Mitchell Trubisky and Kenny Pickett), Baker Mayfield is a Carolina Panther, while Russell Wilson will breathe unusual air, with the height of Denver and a new employer. for the first time in his NFL career.

During the following days there will be meetings and physical and team exercises. There will be a series of drills and a series of press conferences.

There will be rumors and whispers of guys who have made breakthroughs and those who have regressed, of production rivalries and shake-ups of the status quo.

Much will be said and much will be done, and just like that, the summer lull will break, replaced by a relentless new rhythm where football will become everything again and stay that way until February.

Martin Rogers is a columnist for FOX Sports and author of the FOX Sports Insider newsletter. Yyou can subscribe to the daily newsletter here.

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