Eagles have flown the coop: No preseason camp at Lehigh

Team will remain in south Philly

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, Reporter, news@wfmz.com
Published: Mar 15 2013 11:51:47 AM EDT   Updated On: Mar 16 2013 05:48:01 AM EDT
PHILADELPHIA -

The Eagles have flown the coop.  In a surprise move, the football team announced it's moving its summer training camp out of Lehigh University in Bethlehem.  

The Eagles spent grueling weeks training at Lehigh every summer since 1996.

"Well it was a great run," said Bill Rambo. "It was a fabulous event every year to come up and visit with the Eagles and see what was going on."

"Every Sunday, you watch them on TV and here we get to see them locally," added Chip Walakovits.

"You got to meet the players up close and see how big they are and how friendly they were," shared Michael Fischer.  "It was a great experience."

The birds are moving from the Lehigh Valley to South Philadelphia. The Eagles' final summer here will be remembered for one horrible reason -- former coach Andy Reid's son Garret was found dead of a drug overdose in a dorm room in early August. Some fans think it's a new coach, a new regime and a new location.

"The more important fact is I want to see them win a Super Bowl, so I really don't care where they practise," explained Fischer.

"Whatever they need to do to get better," said Rambo. "If you're a true Eagles fan, it does not matter where they practice. It matters what happens in regular season and getting to the Super Bowl and playoffs."

But they will leave a mark. Besides Lehigh University losing out, area businesses and restaurants where players and fans ate and shopped will see fewer customers.

"I'm sad for the economy, the local economy. We needed all the help we can get," described Walakovitz.  "I'm sorry to see them leave and we'll miss them."

Lehigh University tweeted: "Lehigh has enjoyed hosting training camp for the past 17 years. Thanks to our camp staff and best of luck to the team this season."

The new training camp plan will include a number of free, public practices at Lincoln Financial Field. The full training camp schedule will be released later this spring.

The Eagles are the 21st NFL team to move practices to their own facilities.

Read the Eagles' announcement