By now you may have heard that for summer training camp, the Jets will be holding court in Cortland, N.Y.
We've announced on newyorkjets.com that the Jets will open this year's camp at SUNY Cortland on Friday, July 31. Additionally, all five full-squad minicamp practices on June 9-11 will be open to the public at the Atlantic Health Training Center in Florham Park, N.J., plus the annual "Family Night" practice at Hofstra University on Aug. 12 and three more open training camp practices in Florham Park on Aug. 22, 26 and 27.
But the headliner is Cortland, and many fans want to know: Why so far?
The short answer is because new head coach Rex Ryan has a vision for his Jets.
"I like having training camp away from your facility," Ryan said at his first news conference of the veteran minicamp last Thursday. "It has nothing to do with our facility or getting out of Florham Park — I love it here. These facilities are better than anybody's in the league.
"It's about getting away. Getting away from the comforts of this place, of the surrounding areas, where their homes are, and putting them in a camp situation where all they have are each other. It won't be someone going in this direction and someone going in that direction. There is nothing else. We are just going to be together. We are trying to build the chemistry of our football team in training camp."
Rex knows whereof he speaks. During his 10 seasons as a Baltimore assistant coach, the Ravens went to McDaniel College in Westminster, an hour from Baltimore in the Maryland countryside. The Ravens' defenses in that span, and especially the last four seasons with Ryan as their coordinator, enjoyed excellent seasons with their camp foundation.
Cortland is a hike for Jets fans in the New York metro area. It is about 200 miles to the northwest of Florham Park, near the Finger Lakes region and 45 minutes south of Syracuse. U.S. Route 81 north is the road to take to the State University of New York Cortland, a four-year college with an enrollment of 7,000 and ample facilities to prepare an NFL team with several weeks of camp.
We hope you can join us for the Jets' New York State of Mind experience. On the days you can't, Eric Allen and I will coordinate our complete coverage of the Jets on newyorkjets.com. And we'll have those practices here in the metro area as well. It's all about getting ready to hit the ground running (and blitzing?) for the 2009 season.
We'll have more information for you, such as exactly when training camp will end up in Cortland and more details on the open practices in New Jersey and on Long Island in the weeks ahead.