Trevor Laws walked off the field, waved to the cheering fans, and pointed himself in the direction of the Varsity House, where he would shower, change his clothes and prepare for a night of meetings. His first reaction, when asked his feelings about the end of training camp.
"DOOONNE," he said, laughing. "I'm glad. It's tough. There are a lot of great players here, and every day the coaches challenge you and it's a battle. I definitely got set straight a few times, and I know I set a few people straight, too. It was a good camp, but I'm glad it's over."
For the Eagles veterans, the end of training camp is a practiced ritual: Once the mock game is completed, the players eat lunch and then pack up their cars and make the familiar trip down the Northeast Extension to their homes and then, ultimately, to the team hotel to prepare for preseason game No. 2 against Carolina.
For the rookies, the next step is new territory. All they know is that Point A leads to Point B and they go where they are told and they make sure they aren't late.
Training camp, the 23-day pressure cooker that must be conquered to be appreciated, is over.
"I'm glad to be moving on," said DeSean Jackson. "I'm ready to go back to NovaCare. It's been a long time at Lehigh and I'm ready to go home and sleep in my own bed."
Both Laws and Jackson had their share of success in training camp and provided another level of confidence to the coaching staff that they can be counted on as rookies this season. There is more to come -- practices at the NovaCare Complex, three more preseason games -- but surviving and, in fact, thriving in training camp earns both second-round draft picks major points.
Both overcame some injuries -- Laws missed a month between the passing camp and the early stages of camp with a foot injury and Jackson had to sit out a couple of days with a hamstring strain -- and returned to the field and played well. Laws is working as the third tackle and he played well in his preseason debut, sharing a sack and making a couple of tackles at the line of scrimmage. Jackson caught five passes for 51 yards and had a taste as the primary punt return man.
"This training camp was great for me. I had a chance to experience a level of hard work and I enjoyed the chance to show how far I could push it," said Jackson. "I'm at a level with the best of the best. The tempo of practice was something I had to get used to. The tempo is games is always high and you just get into that with the added intensity, but practice here was different than anything I had been part of before. Coach (David) Culley did a good job of getting me ready for the pressure and the tempo of games, because he was on me in practice. He worked me hard.
"Being out on the field every day was big. I was not 100 percent with the hamstring, but I had to push through it and show I was dedicated and that I'm out here putting it on the line for my teammates. I kept working and my hamstring got stronger and stronger. It was a great experience for me out here."
All of the rookies needed to demonstrate to the coaching staff that they could handle the daily mental overload and the physical grind of camp. In Andy Reid's physical camp, where the bodies bang just about every day and that first week after the veterans arrive is particularly challenging, there is no time to relax. Laws spent the first week rehabbing his foot and working toward getting on the field. Jackson had all eyes on him every day, and he delivered and is now part of the picture offensively.
The players they were then, in late July, and the players they are distinctly different. A month of two practices a day will do that for a young player in a professional environment.
"I think I came the farthest learning the scheme and understanding the technique. It's different than what I did in college (Notre Dame)," said Laws. "Physically, I'm a little banged up, but that's the way it goes for defensive tackles. The mental grind was tough, but Victor (Abiamiri, former teammate at Notre Dame) told me what to expect and I got my mind right. I was ready for the worst, so I kind of came here knowing it was not going to be much fun at all.
"I'm ready to leave. I know how much work I have to do. I think I played alright on Friday night. I made a couple of plays, but there is so much more to do. I could have been a lot more productive, but at the same time it was a confidence boost to get out there and play. I got the first one out of the way. I know I can play with these guys. That helps."
It is on to Game No. 2 and the Carolina Panthers on Thursday night. Jackson watched the film and saw creases he knows he can hit the next time in the punt return game. Laws knows he can handle the heavy workload -- he played about 40 snaps in Pittsburgh -- and be much more effective.
"Hey, this is only the beginning," said Jackson. "To where I want to be, where I know I can be, there is a lot of work ahead. I know it isn't going to get any easier. I'm glad to be out of here. I made it through my first camp. But it's only going to get harder, in other ways. We're at the highest level of the game. These are all great players, so you have to be at your best every day. That's the first thing you learn. You can't take a day off.
"Camp is over, but the coaches aren't going to let up on us now."
For young men, both Laws and Jackson have football wisdom beyond their years. They came, they saw, they played well in their first training camp. The next phase of their careers are waiting, and the test will be served every day in games, in practices, in the meeting rooms.