Jets Won’t Hold Training Camp At SUNY Cortland; Florham Park, NJ Instead
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NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) — Rex Ryan’s Jets won’t be holed up in central New York this summer.
The Jets will conduct their training camp at their facility in Florham Park, N.J. and not at SUNY Cortland, where they trained the past two years.
Citing “all the variables presented by this unique offseason,” Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum says the team felt it was best to remain local.
“This was not an easy decision, but one we felt we needed to make in order to give us the best chance to win,” explained Tannenbaum.
The Jets become the second NFL team to change training camp plans because of the owners’ lockout of the players, now in its fourth month. Baltimore announced the same decision this week, electing to remain at the Ravens’ complex.
Tannenbaum added the Jets plan to train in Cortland in 2012. SUNY-Cortland president Erik Bitterbaum said the university will get an extra year tacked on to the agreement with the team for the loss of this camp, meaning the Jets also will be in Cortland in 2013.
“That’s positive,” Bitterbaum said. “They have a framework (for a settlement), but it’s going to take time. With free agency, to get everybody up here and everything they’re going to run out of time.”
The Jets were featured in the popular HBO series “Hard Knocks” during last year’s camp in Cortland, about 30 miles south of Syracuse .
“We are disappointed, but we understand why the Jets management made this decision, and we’re looking forward to hosting the team next year,” Bitterbaum said. “Our partnership remains strong, and we will continue to support the team as enthusiastic Jets fans.”
Clay Hampton, the Jets’ senior director of operations, cited logistics for the decision to remain at the Florham Park facility.
“Training camp is a collaborative effort that requires many different departments to work together to be successful,” he said, “and staying at our facility gives us the best chance to accomplish that goal. This is a new operation, but with the template we have in place from OTAs and minicamps, we are prepared for this scenario.”
In previous years, the Jets have held offseason workouts, minicamps and training camp practices in Florham Park.
The Jets will invite Cortland staff members and Cortland alumni to events at the New Jersey site, and will extend their internship program for Cortland students with interest in working at training camp. Tannenbaum even reached out to a local eatery in Cortland.
He dialed up Mark Braun, who owns Doug’s Fish Fry, located a half-mile from the college’s entrance. His small restaurant has become something of a home base for the team’s fan club and a hot spot for fans, media and players. Braun was invited to cater for the players one day at the Florham Park training camp.
“Mike Tannenbaum personally called me at about quarter to 10,” Braun said. “He said, ‘Mark, I’ve got good news and bad news. We’re not coming back.’
“As a fan, of course I’m going to miss it, but I kind of expected it, I guess,” said Braun, a Jets season ticket-holder for more than a decade. “But he said he appreciated all my support and did invite us to cater for the team when the labor dispute gets resolved. I don’t really understand the labor dispute to get angry. I was so in awe that he called me. I’m just a little restaurant owner.”
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