Philadelphia Eagles News

Fans Flock To Open Practice

Who knows how long the "normal" part is going to last. There are more moves to be made. The Eagles have cap room and, clearly, a very creative game plan in place. On this morning, though, this picture-perfect morning at Lehigh University, the story is that, for the first time since the playoff loss to Green Bay, the fans could reach out and touch their favorite team.

Even with the limited practice -- pads don't go on until Sunday, remember -- the fans showed up in big numbers. Not an overflow crowd quite yet, that will come soon, but a healthy crowd with chants of E-A-G-L-E-S, EAGLES! everywhere. This is a camp that a week ago nobody knew for sure would exist. Well, here it is, in Midnight Green splendor.

I admit that I experienced tingles the first time I heard the fans lung out their Eagles chant (approximately 7:43 a.m., with many more after). To see the group of fans out here -- the moms and dads and kids and everyone -- felt like the completion of a circle. The season is here, now that the fans are physically part of the ride.

There was never a doubt, of course, that the fans were here emotionally all the time. We've had record-breaking audiences watching Training Camp Live! since camp opened. We have actually looked into the demographics and they are astounding: More than 100,000 fans are tuning in to the shows from more than 50 countries. Truly, then, the Eagles are a global phenomenon.

This is going to be a nutty day. Again. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is here, wearing No. 23. Rookie safety Jaiquawn Jarrett is wearing No. 26. Later today, the Eagles will have press conferences for Jason Babin and Vince Young. I'm not sure when Nnamdi Asomugha is going to reach Lehigh, but he is going to front and center when he gets here. Otherwise, the news is still the same: DeSean Jackson is not here, first-round pick Danny Watkins remains without a contract and wide receiver Jeremy Maclin and cornerback Asante Samuel have excused absences.

All of those matters will resolve themselves. The Eagles will take care of business. They didn't put this remarkable personnel plan in place to allow these kinds of things to slow them down.

I'm just fired up, and I wanted to tell you that. Eagles football is so all the way back, and having the fans here to celebrate with the team on Saturday makes for a complete and wonderful and exciting picture.

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