Lombardi: Anxious for start of camp

Now that Independence Day has come and gone, I can begin to focus on the next big date on the calendar. That would be July 25, the opening of Packer Training Camp.

I see that the first practice will be held on July 26, rookies in no pads at 8:45 am. It won't be long before the railbirds occupy the Oneida Street sidewalk and the kids with the bikes begin to jockey to be a player-chauffeur. The ice cream vendors and traffic cops come out in force and the Atrium fills up with expectant fans.

I have always found training camp to be kind of boring. I do not know half the players' names and the repetition of the drills is mind-numbing to me. But I do appreciate the sense of promise and hope that pervades the green fields of Packerland with the start of each new season. It is like those few hours before opening presents on Christmas morning. The feeling of potential and possibility is fresh and sweet. It helps that July is the doldrums of the sporting year. The NBA finals are over. All college sports have long since gone on summer vacation. Baseball is at the halfway point and has a long way to go before any game really matters all that much. Lance Armstrong is chasing another Tour Victory, but there is not a lot of drama there. To be frank, I would not give a hoot if an American was not in contention. It all makes me want to take a nap.

Luckily, the lazy days of summer will soon be shattered by the sound of helmets and shoulder pads banging away on each other. It will not be long before football is back and all that promise and conjecture will meet in one big extravaganza under the hot summer sun. All outstanding questions will be answered. New ones will sprout up and also be answered and each week brings a new challenge. Coach Sherman's fate will be decided. Ted Thompson's moves will be evaluated. Rookies will have their life long dreams realized or crushed. Aging veterans will try and hang on for one more year and Brett Favre will take one more step towards Canton.

The countdown has begun and it will be here before we know it. And that is not soon enough.

John Lombardi

Editor's note: John Lombardi is the grandson of legendary coach Vince Lombardi. John resides with his family in Green Bay . His football experience includes stints with two teams in the World League (now NFL Europe); in the scouting departments of the Cleveland Browns and Tennessee Titans; and graduate assistant coach and director of football operations at Vanderbilt. He will be contributing columns for PackerReport.com.

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