Wanna get away?
That's the snappy slogan used by one airline, and the answer more NFL teams are giving is, "No, thanks."
ESPN.com's Mike Sando breaks down the number of organizations that head elsewhere for training camp and finds that the Bears, who will be packing their bags for Bourbonnais, Ill., next week, are in the minority. Seventeen teams will remain at their home facility this summer. That ties the high for the last 10 years. According to the report, only four teams remained at home for training camp back in 2000, and that figure was in single-digits until 2003.
The advantages of staying at home are obvious. Players and coaches get to use the facility they're accustomed to working in for the entire season. Coaches, and in some cases players, can sleep in their own bed each night.
Some coaches talk about the camaraderie that is built during training camp, but as much control as clubs have over their players during the offseason these days, that's not such a big deal any more.
The Bears will be training at Olivet Nazarene University for the eighth consecutive summer, and the school and franchise have reached an agreement for 2010. This is after a 17-year run at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville.
Coach Lovie Smith has said he would prefer to remain at Halas Hall. But while some teams can host fans at their facilities, that's probably not a logistical option for the Bears at Halas Hall. Going away allows head groundskeeper Ken Mrock to ensure the teams two practice fields in Lake Forest are in optimum condition for use starting in late August. The Bears have the use of five practice fields at ONU, including Ward Field. Buffalo gets things going first on Saturday.
Bears players must report to ONU by midnight on July 30. The first practice is scheduled for 3 p.m. on July 31. Here is a list of leaguewide reporting dates.