If you polled NFL players about their thoughts on training camp, I’d imagine the percentage of guys who actually look forward to the month-long stretch of practices is pretty minuscule.
Practice sessions during camp often come twice a day in what is sometimes brutal heat, and when they’re not working their behinds off on the fields, players sit in meetings for hours at a time.
Unless they’re Albert Haynesworth. He just collects checks.
Some teams (like the Ravens) require their players stay in college dorms or hotel rooms away from their families, and they need to be in bed early at night and up early in the morning.
It’s probably safe to say that the late-July to late-August stretch is almost every NFL player’s least favorite time of the year.
Fabian Washington, however, has been looking forward to training camp for about eight months now.
The cornerback, who hasn’t put on pads and a helmet since tearing his ACL last season, expects to be at full strength when Ravens training camp opens July 27, allowing him to participate in full team drills and work back into playing shape.
“I’m really pumped, man,” Washington said. “I haven’t played football since November, so I’m ready. I’m excited to get back on the field and run around with the guys.”
Recently, Washington has had to settle for running around by himself. He spent parts of the recent minicamps doing sprints on a side field and participating in individual drills while his teammates were doing 11-on-11 work.
When I spoke with him at the conclusion of OTAs, Washington said he still is on schedule with his rehab and plans on being ready to give it a full go when he reports to Westminster.
“I’ll be completely fine by training camp,” he said. “I really feel like if training camp were to start this week, I could practice. But it doesn’t, and I’ll take the extra time and heal more.”
Some players use the time between minicamp and training camp to vacation and rest up before the season starts to get in gear. Not Washington. He’ll spend that time working out at IMG Academies back home in Florida, strengthening his knee and improving his conditioning.
“I’ll be there everyday,” Washington said. “I want to make sure I’m as ready as possible come camp.”