In just two weeks, the Detroit Lions will take the field for their first practice of training camp. Before that, rookies and veterans will have to report to Allen Park by a set date to get ready for the start of training camp. These report dates were previously known, but the NFL officially announced them on Monday. Here they are for the Lions:
Rookies: Tuesday, July 22
Veterans: Sunday, July 27
What's interesting about this year's report dates is that the veterans will be coming to town a couple days later than usual. Last year, the Lions had their rookies report on July 22, and the veterans reported on July 25. This allowed the Lions to begin practice on Friday, July 26. This year, with the veterans not reporting until July 27 (the latest report date in the entire NFL by two days), the Lions won't actually begin practice until Monday, July 28.
The somewhat delayed start to training camp appears to just be a personal preference of new head coach Jim Caldwell. The same goes for the varied start times for the Lions' practices this summer. Rather than practice at a set time in the morning or afternoon each day, Caldwell has set up a schedule where the Lions will practice at a variety of times over the first couple weeks of training camp. I suppose that's his way of mixing things up and getting his team used to being on the field at different times of day.
In any case, the offseason may almost be over, but Lions veterans will get to enjoy it for a couple extra days this year. The first practice of the summer is still right around the corner, but some extra patience will be required for fans this year with training camp officially beginning a couple days later than usual.