Philadelphia Eagles News

Eagles Make The Move To Lehigh

Players will start reporting to training camp in a few days, but for the last week the Eagles equipment and training staff have been preparing the facilities at Lehigh University for a rough three-plus weeks of practice.

A quarter of the weight room, all of the training room and most of the equipment room from the NovaCare Complex and from the stadium are either already at or en route to Bethlehem.

Equipment manager John Hatfield is in charge of the relocation, and said that 21 truck loads - plus a couple of tractor trailers - were needed to transport everything from the weightlifting equipment to game tape.

Hatfield has been preparing the Eagles for training camp for nine years and hopes that by now he has the process down to a science. He says it has definitely gotten somewhat easier over the years.

"You have a lot of good people doing it and working so that's the important part of it, those guys that back you up," said Hatfield, who worked in the college ranks for over 20 years before joining the Eagles. "Lehigh has definitely supported us all the way. It's a wonderful place to go and the people up there are just wonderful. They'll do anything you really ask for as long as they know about it. So they make it really easy for us."

It is Hatfield's job to make the switch as smooth as possible for the players.

"The only thing they know is the locker room is not wooden - it's metal," he said. "Other than that we are ready to go."

Hatfield and his staff will bring up the players' and coaches' clothes and do laundry for them at Lehigh, set up air conditioners in the dorms and almost anything else that he can to make a college dormitory feel like home.

His job is one where silence is truly golden. The less he hears from the players or coaches, the better he is probably doing his job. There is no need to thank him because the work, even after all of his years in the business, doesn't get old.

"Not for me it doesn't," he said. "That's the job, number one, and I like doing it. It's a good deal."

It's an intense period of time and Hatfield admits he is looking forward to its completion. But most of all he wants is to make sure everybody has what they need - even if it's fabric softener.

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