Training camp for NFL teams are about getting in shape, bonding with teammates, competing for positions and working on perfecting your game for the upcoming season.
For fans, it's about the opportunity of a new season dawning and getting a chance to see their gridiron heroes take to the field after a nearly eight months without the sport they love.
With the first day of Tennessee Titans training camp open to the public, an estimated 1500 fans made their way to St. Thomas Sports Park on Friday to witness their favorite team and their new rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota take to the field for the first time for public viewing.
One such fan is 32 year-old Chattanooga resident James Hughes, who along with his friend made the drive up to spend the morning with the Titans and to possible grab an autograph or two in the process.
Hughes and his friends have made the trip the last two years for a camp practice, and they attend one or two games per season, with Hughes trying to catch up on lost time as he spent four years overseas teaching English in Japan.
Hughes spend some time preparing for today's practice, having made a rather interesting double sided sign supporting two Titans players.
One side of the sign made reference to a popular video game and Mariota, while the other side spoke to Titans backup quarterback Zach Mettenberger.
Hughes and his friends were among some of the most vocal and supportive fans in attendance, as they repeatedly yelled encouragement on good plays, while at the same time hoping that Mariota and Mettenberger would see the signs in their honor.
In spite of the signs, Hughes says that neither quarterback is his favorite player on the Titans roster.
"KW, Kendall Wright, I've probably gotten his autograph the most," said Hughes.
Hughes was hoping to get a chance to get Mariota to autograph his sign, but unfortunately the rookie star is scheduled to sign on Saturday and did not sign following today's practice.
Mettenberger did however acknowledge Hughes and his sign at one point during the practice, gesturing to hi as he yelled with his sign in hand.
Mettenberger commented on the sign following practice.
"Apparently he spent three hours making it, so he wanted to tell me and Marcus that all day," said Mettenberger. "It's good to have the fans out there showing support, we enjoy it."
Maybe next year James you can get one or both quarterbacks to autograph your signs, and if you are as creative with your signs next year then maybe we can do this again.