Training camp set to open July 25

The Green Bay Packers will begin their 2005 training camp on July 25, the team announced Thursday. Rookies and first-year/injured players are scheduled to report July 25 and begin practice on the following day. Veterans are scheduled to report to camp on July 27. They will undergo physical examinations on July 28 and begin full-squad practices on July 29.

The Packers will conduct nearly five weeks of practices, most of which are free and open to the public, weather permitting, through Aug. 28, the preseason's final week. Most NFL teams close all practices following their second preseason game.

The Buffalo Bills' visit Aug. 4-5 will highlight the Packers' 2005 camp. Green Bay hasn't hosted another team in training camp since 1991. Head Coach Mike Sherman arranged to host the Bills for two practices as well as the Packers' annual scrimmage, 'Family Night,' because he wanted to offer more competition and provide some of the younger players another game-like experience.

The scrimmage, on Friday, Aug. 5, is expected to begin at 6 p.m., with event festivities starting at roughly 5:30 p.m. Traditionally an intra-squad affair, 'Family Night' has filled Lambeau Field for each of its first four editions, including 2004, when the Packers sold every available seat in the stadium bowl. The event is special because it offers a game-like evening to families, many of whom don't have access to Packers season tickets. The stadium's games have been sold out on a season-ticket basis since 1960.

Packers training camp again will offer young fans the opportunity to lend their bicycles to players for the trek to and from the practice field. One of the most intimate traditions in all of sports, riding kids' bikes to practice is believed to have been started by Vince Lombardi in 1961. Camp also offers 18 formal autograph sessions, in which selected players sign for fans randomly selected from among those in attendance.

The Packers offer daily themed activities, on-site interactive games, sponsored giveaways and community events. Every organized activity takes place in and around the Lambeau Field complex, including the Atrium, which contains seven dining options and two retail shops. Guests also can take a Lambeau Field tour and visit the Packers Hall of Fame.

St. Norbert College in De Pere, Wis., will serve as the Packers' summer home for the 48th consecutive season (the NFL's longest active tenure). During four weeks every training camp, the team utilizes the college for meals, meetings and living quarters, while using Lambeau Field, the Don Hutson Center and surrounding fields - the same facilities used during the regular season - for all training camp practices. The Packers have used the same operational structure every summer since 1958.

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