The full practice schedule to the Buffalo Bills Verizon Wireless Training Camp at St. John Fisher College in Pittsford, NY has been released and is available on buffalobills.com. Practice begins on Saturday, July 25, at 8:30 a.m. and the opening weekend will include four total practices. Camp runs through Wednesday, August 19.
The Bills will host seven public night practices during the Verizon Wireless Training Camp.
The first night practice will be on July 28. The second night practice will include the Bills throwback jersey unveiling festivities on July 30. The other night practices will be August 4, 6, 11, 13 and 17. All night practices will begin at 7:00 p.m.
Ticket distribution plans for opening weekend and the night practices will be announced at a later date.
Public parking and shuttle transportation will be provided for fans during training camp. There will be a $1 charge for riders ages 12-62 to ride the shuttle buses and all services are accessible for guests with disabilities. Parking lot locations and the operational hours are available on buffalobills.com.
St. John Fisher College and the Bills will celebrate their 10 year anniversary of training camp in 2009.
"On behalf of Mr. Wilson and the entire organization, we are excited to begin our 50th Season of professional football which includes another milestone in Buffalo Bills history - our 10th anniversary of training camp at St. John Fisher College," said Russ Brandon, Bills chief operating officer and general manager.
Brandon said, "For the past nine years, President Bain, the Board of Trustees and the staff of St. John Fisher College have been welcoming and accommodating to our fans, players and front office personnel. We are looking forward to kicking off our historic 10th training camp at St. John Fisher College on July 25."
The facilities at St. John Fisher College have served the Bills well over the years and the players have taken notice.
"It's a great facility," said Chris Kelsay, defensive end. "They do a great job taking care of us. As far as training camp goes, as grueling of a process as it is, they make us feel at home."
Bills punter Brian Moorman said, "I just think St. John Fisher has great facilities and it allows us to have one of the best training camps in the league."
"It's as good of a training facility as I've ever been around as a player and a coach," said Dick Jauron, Bills head coach. "I like the fact that it's far enough away from Buffalo that it is a little secluded a bit, but close enough that we can get back and forth and people can get back and forth and watch us. All in all, it's really a terrific experience and a great venue for us to get ready for a season."
The Bills have held their training camp at sites in East Aurora, NY (1960-62), Blasdell, NY (1963-67), Niagara University in Niagara Falls, NY (1968-80), SUNY at Fredonia in Fredonia, NY (1981-89) and at St. John Fisher College since 2000. As part of the Bills regionalization strategy, the Rochester location has worked well for the team and has been a great experience for fans and players.
"Training camp is not only a time for our players to get in their playbook and execute the X's and O's on the practice field, but also an opportunity for our fans to come out and get an up-close look at the Buffalo Bills," said Brandon. "The Bills training camp fan experience is a respected model throughout the NFL."
"It's an intimate aspect – our fans are right on top of us," said Kelsay. "They can see us firsthand, up-close and personal. It's nice to interact with them too, but like I said, it's a tough time and grueling."
"It (training camp) allows the players to interact with the fans which I think is important because fans are a big part of this game," said Moorman. "Training camp is a good opportunity for us to be around them and then also at the same time get our practices in that we need to have in to be successful."
The Bills players will gather for their first practice on July 25th and begin what they plan to be a special 50th Anniversary Season. Safety Donte Whitner may have summed up the real meaning of training camp best for what he and his teammates are trying to accomplish.
"Training camp is a time where you get with your teammates and you develop camaraderie for the upcoming season," said Whitner. "You go through the hard times, the sweat, the blood and tears of training camp to make you a better football team."