I’ve just finished day four with the Eagles, and in today’s edition, we’ll cover a day in the life of an NFL player at training camp…
After another tough padded practice in the Philadelphia heat, two men provided me with an insight into a typical day in the life of an NFL player at training camp.
Center Jason Kelce, well-known for his infamous Super Bowl parade speech on the Rocky Steps in Philadelphia, is entering his 10th year and coming off a First Team All-Pro selection in 2017.
Defensive end Steven Means, now in his fourth year with the Eagles, is one of the hardest working, toughest competitors on the team. All-Pro left tackle Lane Johnson and the rest of the Eagles offensive line last year credited Means with forcing them to be at their best at all times in practice.
I asked them both to break down their day, and this is what it looked like. (Timings are estimates based on feedback from multiple players.)
Kelce: “Typically I’m waking up at 6.45, getting breakfast, getting taped and doing my little pre-practice warm-up. We have a cafeteria here, I eat here. Some guys eat over at the hotel. Jump in the hot tub for a couple of minutes, then head out to practice.”
Means: “You have to go to sleep early. That’s first and foremost. You don’t want to fall asleep in meetings or have a sluggish practice. So the main objective is to get a lot of good sleep at night. Then you have to wake up and be here early enough.”
Kelce: “The first thing we do is practice. Not all teams are like that, I’m really a big fan of this schedule. We get out there before the heat has the time to get to its hottest point.
“That’s the biggest thing – especially with a lot of the bigger guys – the amount they are sweating, the amount they are overheating, you want to limit that as much as possible. It’s hard to do in the summer.”
Means: “When you get here, you come out here and you have to have a good practice. If you have a bad practice, you are going to spend your whole day thinking about it.
“If you have a good practice, the rest of the day will be good because you don’t have another practice – you just watch the film and take the good with the bad.”
Media availability (11.30-12.20)
This can be completely dependent on the day, the player’s schedule, and their popularity. After practice, some players stay to work on certain aspects of their game, some stay out for fan signings, and others head to the locker room.
This is the time where writers, like me, get the chance to grab players before they rush off to the first meetings of the day.
Down time/lunch (12.20-1.30)
Kelce: “After practice, we’re down. We have time to eat lunch, do some cold pool, rehab stuff, and then we have meetings.”
Kelce: “We’re in meetings watching film. A lot of meetings.”
Yesterday, Michael Bennett described training camp as “Groundhog Day”. These players spend countless hours watching their own film as well as that of others, breaking down what went wrong, what went right and what to work on moving forward.
Kelce: “Then we go on the field for a walkthrough.”
With the full-speed padded practice out of the way, the walkthrough is another chance for the team to practice plays, formations, calls and much more as a group out on the field. But this time, it’s without the intensity of the morning session.
Kelce: “Today [Sunday], we have a lower body lift. We get done lifting and we are back in the meetings at 6.40/6.45 and we’re done at 8.”
Cornerback Ronald Darby explained: “One day the offense lifts, one day the defense lifts, and the last day both of us lift at the same time.”
Means: “Lift, to me – it’s in our way sometimes. I don’t know if we necessarily need all this lifting, but we’ve got to lift.”
More meetings (6.40-8.00)
Means: “A lot, a lot of meetings, but that’s what you expect from training camp. Meetings, and more meetings after that, and we finish up with meetings. We get in around 8 and we wind up leaving around 8, if we are lucky.”
Kelce: “Long day. You pretty much get out of meetings, go to your hotel, I’ll eat one more time to try and make sure I’m keeping my weight, then I’ll go to sleep, wake up, and do it again.”
There you have it. It’s not easy being a sportsman, is it?
That’s it for today. The Eagles have a day off on Monday, but we’ll be back for the final day from Philadelphia on Tuesday.