Today was the final day of Jets training camp in Cortland, N.Y., as the team left on buses and in their own cars for North Jersey early this morning. And players and coaches departed knowing it has been a great experience for them.
After three weeks of many two-a-days and hours in the hot, humid and sometimes rainy weather with the "Hard Knocks" cameras following them all around SUNY Cortland, the team, says quarterback Mark Sanchez, has connected during their second summer camp in the Crown City.
"This is like our home away from home," said Sanchez. "We love having camp here. The fans here are so gracious and they're out here cheering no matter what; rain, shine, heat, humidity. They love it. It's nice to be upstate and get away from everything and really bond with the team. Cortland's always here to help us, so we appreciate it."
First-round draft choice Kyle Wilson saw this as a great opportunity to connect to his new teammates and improve as a player.
"The overall experience was nice," Wilson said. "I think I came out, definitely improved my technique, learned a lot and definitely got something from this experience. It was a chance to get away and really just focus on football."
Newcomers to the Jets organization had plenty of adjustments throughout training camp. Safety Brodney Pool, who came over from Cleveland in the offseason, had a great time and got a lot out of this experience.
"I certainly enjoyed it," said Pool. "It was a big step for me coming in and learning a new defense. It wasn't easy, but at the same time it wasn't too hard. I think the guys, as a DB unit, the coaches, everybody just worked together. We knew what we wanted to get done with this camp and I think we've been doing a good job of it."
Dwight Lowery, who was up at Cortland last summer with the Jets, feels that the second time around was more beneficial to them in getting accustomed to their surroundings and focusing on the task at hand.
"The first year we came up here was kind of different. We didn't really know what to expect," Lowery said. "It seemed like we were here for a long time. This time around, things ran a little bit more smoothly, the meetings were in a great location in terms of where we're staying for the night and what not. The experience was a little bit better. But I think it had a lot to do with us just being prepared for the situation."
The person who was the biggest advocate for getting away from the city hustle and moving up to a quieter, smaller town for training camp was head coach Rex Ryan. He feels that this has been the perfect fit for both the town and the organization.
"This thing is as good as I've ever been around," said Ryan. "I think they have opened their arms to us here, and everybody treats us great. That's something that we'll miss. This is really as good as it gets for a training camp."
"This place is awesome," said Sanchez. "We love it here and we can't wait to come back next year."