Older players tell their teammates how much easier training camp is today

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It’s an old refrain from old folks: Back in my day, life wasn’t so easy. It’s a refrain that NFL veterans often tell their younger teammates at this time of year.

That’s particularly true for the players who have been in the league since before 2011, when the new Collective Bargaining Agreement put limits on practice time and the number of full-contact practices. The Eagles have five such players, and Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer talked to them about how much different training camp was in those days.

“I joke around with these young dudes nowadays,” wide receiver DeSean Jackson said. “I say they’re soft. They’re making them soft.”

Eagles running back Darren Sproles played his first two seasons with the Chargers under coach Marty Schottenheimer, who was known for running some of the toughest training camps around — tougher than any NFL coach today runs. Schottenheimer would keep the players on the practice field as late as he wanted, until he was satisfied that they had worked hard enough.

“Back then we had real two-a-days and it didn’t matter the time,” Sproles said.

Eagles defensive end Brandon Graham, who has been with the team since 2010, said coach Doug Pederson pushes them hard in camp without pushing them so hard that they get injured, as coaches of the past used to do.

“If I’m going to give max effort every time, I need to know you’re going to take care of me down the down. And I think Doug does a good job of that,” Graham said. “You can still get a lot out of your team without the two practices. Sometimes I’d feel like, ‘Boy, you’d be so damn tired that after a while you’re going to hurt something.’”

Today’s younger players may think they’re tired after a hot summer practice, but they don’t know what those camps of old were like.

11 responses to “Older players tell their teammates how much easier training camp is today

  1. These current “older” players still have no idea what it’s like going thru a tough training camp. Tougher then today? Yes. Tougher then the 70s-90s? Not even close.

  2. Less and less practice and less and less big hits that aren’t penalty’s …. but more and more money !!! It’s literally going to come down to watching mega millionaires playing touch football , life is good !

  3. Well sonny…in MY day , I could watch a game and KNOW what the rules were. I could tell what a hit was…I could tell what a catch was….I could watch a kickoff returned for a TD. Now get off my lawn!!

  4. I remember watching the 49ers during fall camps in the early 80s and the only water they got was from a hose. Now, they have hydration stations.

  5. There are only 13 padded practices allowed for the entire season under the collective bargaining agreement for today’s players. Back in the day, there were 13 padded practices BEFORE the first pre-season game!

  6. DolFan says:
    August 12, 2019 at 2:57 pm
    And Schottenheimer’s team made it to the SuperBowl so many times so those hard practices were worth it… Oh wait.
    You’re missing the point……Schottenheimer was just an example…and the farther you go back, the tougher it was….

  7. And I walked 4 miles in a snowstorm barefoot to go to school, you whippers snappers got it easy now and days.

  8. And the game was sooooo much better back in the day when players had to have real jobs because the NFL didn’t pay that much, you know why? Because they played for the sheer “love of the game”, they didn’t care about the money the way too many players today do!

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