Aug 272010

Eagles RT Winston Justice

August 27 Philadelphia Daily News columnist Winston Justice

“IT’S HARD TO believe another season us upon us. Training camp is not my favorite part of the year. All players dread the day the camp schedule is released. Finding out whether training camp lasts 3 or 4 weeks is critical to your sanity the rest of season. We have to prepare ourselves mentally for the grind that follows.

This year was a long one, but luckily the weather was on our side for the first time in my 5 years with the Eagles. I’d like to thank all of the fans who came out to Lehigh to cheer us on as we prepared for 2010. We definitely feed off your energy.

One of the secrets of camp at Lehigh is that we all fight over who gets the best parking spot. If you haven’t been to Lehigh, it’s important to mention the entire campus is built on a hill. Somehow the university planners found one more way to make Eagles training camp even harder for us. Going from the dorms to meetings and meals, there is always an extra incline we must walk.

When we get off the practice field, some of us can be lazy. So as soon as practice is over, there is a race to find the best parking spot down at the dining hall so we don’t have to walk up the “big” hill. Then after you eat, there is a race to get back to the dorms to find the closest place to park so you don’t need to go up or down another hill.

Much to the university’s dismay, we even try to create our own parking spots by parking on lawns and curbs – someone is always trying to invent a new space. Todd Herremans is a savvy vet at this. Every year he brings to camp a vehicle with extra off-road capabilities. He’s the guy with the car parked on hills, valleys and curbs – whatever is closest to the building door. Unfortunately, the university police eventually catch on to us, and one night after meetings we all ended up with $100 parking tickets.

In terms of workload and mentality, not much changes when we get back to NovaCare. Actually, we watch more film, once we are back in town. We begin to really game plan and break down each team we are playing against that week.

After making it though Year 5 at Lehigh, the one thing I noticed is there is a lot of competition at each position. From the receivers to the defensive backs and across the offensive line, there are a lot of young talented guys trying to make their way in the NFL, and you can tell by the intense practices we had at Lehigh.”

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