Jets choose Cortland for training camp
NEW YORK -- The New York Jets are holding training camp at SUNY Cortland again this summer, returning to central New York for the fifth time in the last six years.
The team trains on the school's campus, located about three hours from the Jets' facility in Florham Park, N.J. The Jets have practiced there each summer of Rex Ryan's tenure, except for 2011 after the NFL lockout.
New York did not announce any dates Wednesday, but teams can begin camp 15 days before their first preseason game. That means the Jets can start as early as July 23, with their opener Aug. 7 at home against Indianapolis.
Ryan favors having his teams travel for camp to allow bonding among his coaches and players.
"I love the fact that we are going back to Cortland," Ryan said in a statement. "Everyone knows how I feel about going away. I think it is a big part of building our team camaraderie."
The main story line this summer likely will be the quarterback competition between Geno Smith and Michael Vick, who signed as a free agent last month. Smith, who started every game as a rookie after Mark Sanchez was hurt last preseason, said this week he's confident he'll be the starter when the Jets open the regular season.
Vick, who spent the last six years in Philadelphia, has said he thinks of Smith as the starting quarterback at this point but is looking forward to competing for the job.
Vick's presence in Cortland could be met with some opposition. An online petition was started shortly after he signed with the Jets, seeking to ban the quarterback from the town if the team returned there for training camp. Citing his role in a dog fighting ring, for which he served nearly two years prison, the petition that was addressed to SUNY Cortland president Erik Bitterbaum has received nearly 23,000 signatures.
"We are extremely pleased and excited to once again welcome the New York Jets to the SUNY Cortland campus," Bitterbaum said in a statement. He did not address the petition, but added that the Jets' presence would bring "millions of tourist dollars into the Cortland economy."
According to a study by the university, the Jets generated $3.68 million in economic activity to the Cortland community last summer as 21,000 fans attended training camp. That was slightly down from 2012, when the Jets generated $5.5 million in economic activity -- with Tim Tebow drawing massive crowds during his one camp with the Jets.
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