With the Major League Baseball All-Star Game in the rear view mirror, sports fans are eager to see some more severe hitting: players hitting each other in National Football League training camps. That begins Saturday when the Miami Dolphins and Dallas Cowboys report to their respective summer camps.
They begin before the rest because they open the exhibition season against each other in the Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio, on August. 4. Although this so-called off-season has been far more active than previous years, Miami rookie defensive end Dion Jordan says he is "really" excited and expects he isn't the only one.
"I'm sure everybody is around the country," he said. "It's about that time, people are getting tired of watching baseball."
And that is not just the perspective of an overeager rookie. In his induction speech to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, former Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders defensive lineman Howie Long reflected the same sentiment, saying "Baseball is America's pastime; football is America's passion."
The NFL will begin to feed that passion Saturday when the Cowboys and Dolphins report to camp and then suit up and start hitting Sunday. The remaining NFL teams open camp next week, from Wednesday, July 24, through Saturday, July 27.
Here is the schedule for camp openings:
Saturday, July 20 (two teams): Dallas, Miami.
Wednesday, July 24 (12 teams): Atlanta, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Denver, St. Louis, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Tampa Bay, Tennessee, Washington.
Thursday, July 25 (14 teams): Arizona, Carolina, Chicago, Detroit, Green Bay, Houston, Jacksonville, Kansas City, Minnesota, New England, New Orleans, N.Y. Jets, Oakland, Philadelphia.
Friday, July 26: N.Y. Giants, Pittsburgh.
Saturday, July 27: Buffalo, Indianapolis.