The rookies have all heard the horror stories. They've heard it's going to be hot. They've heard it's going to be grueling. And they've heard it's going to be long.
We're talking, of course, about an Andy Reid training camp.
So while, as of today, the rookies are no longer in town working out at the NovaCare Complex, that doesn't mean they're really on "vacation." Instead, they have to use the time off to prepare for their indoctrination into life in the NFL.
For fourth-round pick Clay Harbor, that means going back to Chicago, working out every day and running routes and catching passes from his former college quarterback at Missouri State, Cody Kirby.
"We've just finished up these workouts, getting stronger and more in shape for training camp," Harbor said. "Now we've got some time off, I get to digest everything we've learned over the three weeks that we were here. So it's going to be good; I'm looking forward to improving and getting ready for training camp."
So what have the veterans told Harbor about training camp up at Lehigh University?
"They said it's pretty grueling and you have to come in in the best shape you can," he said. "We do a lot of live drills at camp so be ready for that. A lot of teams in the league do tag drills, but we go full contact so just be prepared for that is really what they've said."
For Harbor, the only one of the 13 draft picks not from a BCS school, the quick immersion into full-speed play should be beneficial. Because he's staring at a slightly higher jump in quality of play than the rest of the rookies, Harbor's looking forward to getting thrown in the deep end.
"Oh yeah, I think that's a great thing," he said. "It'll get me more prepared for the regular season and preseason and everything, being able to go against that full speed, full competition, full go. You're playing football so you don't have to worry about tagging off or going too hard, so it's definitely a good thing for me."
Harbor will be involved in one of the more intriguing position battles at training camp, fighting with Cornelius Ingram and Martin Rucker to snag the backup job to tight end Brent Celek. Ingram got the lion's share of the reps with the second team during the spring, but Harbor will have plenty of chances to impress. He's also versatile enough to line up at fullback in certain situations, something he did at Missouri State.
Still, it was a productive spring for Harbor, as he quickly latched on to Marty Mornhinweg's playbook. Proving himself as a blocker will be key, so Harbor has been hitting the weight room hard. The 6-3 rookie said that he weighs around 250 pounds at the moment and is hoping to get to training camp at about 253 pounds. He's been working hard with strength and conditioning coach Barry Rubin to improve his agility and "some change of direction stuff."
Harbor feels that he'll be well prepared for his first training camp – rookies report to camp on July 26 – but he also admits that he won't really know until he hits that practice field for the first time. Eagles fans and Harbor alike will be counting the days.
-- Posted by Bo Wulf, 12:00 p.m., June 18