The Other Side: What it's like across the fence

Ever wonder what its like to walk beyond those annoying fences that stand in your way at Philadelphia Eagles training camp at Lehigh University? At day one of the Philadelphia Eagle's Training Camp, July 26, 2003, I did just that. As a columnist and photographer for this site, I stood close enough to reach out and touch Billy McMullen as he dove along the sidelines for a catch.

As the horn blew for individual warm-ups I stood just feet from Donovan McNabb, AJ Feely, Koy Detmer and Tim Hasselbeck as they prepared for their second practice of 2003. As they went through their drill, McNabb seemed laid back and showed no ill effects from last year's injury. Watching as he shouted encouragement to his teammates, it felt incredible to hear what he was saying. Not only could you see the plays, but you can hear every single word exchanged between coaches and players.

Seven on Seven drills were exciting as each QB took his shot against the Eagle's youthful secondary full of rookies and free agents. One of the outstanding wide receivers was Sean Morey who made many acrobatic catches just only a few steps away from me.

As practice drew to a close with the horn, the team and coaches all gathered in the middle of the practice field to share a couple of words before heading to the locker rooms. This was a chance to take part in interviews, up close encounters of players walking away from the fields, and back to their dormitories to study up on their playbooks before taking the field once again tomorrow morning.

For those of you who may never have the chance to gain sideline access there's nothing like watching an NFL practice right before your eyes and mere feet away from you. It is shocking experience, and one that I would not soon forget.

Publisher's note: Kate Kloss will give her insights from time to time as training camp rolls along.


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