Jets' Ryan still planning to hit road for camp

April 16, 2009 6:06:21 PM PDT
Rex Ryan wants his first training camp with the New York Jets to be a team bonding session, far from the distractions and amenities of home. Despite moving into their $75 million training facility in Florham Park less than a year ago, the Jets are considering other areas, including upstate New York, for at least part of this summer's training camp.

"We're trying to build the chemistry of our football team in training camp, and I think that's the No. 1 thing," Ryan said Thursday after his first minicamp practice with the Jets. "I see it as a huge plus for us if we're able to do that."

The campuses of SUNY Cortland in Cortland, N.Y., and Cornell in Ithaca, N.Y., both located about four hours north of New York City, are believed to be the top candidates. The decision to possibly move camp has angered many New Jersey-based fans, who thought they'd get a chance to see their team train close to home.

"It has nothing to do with our facilities or getting out of Florham Park, where I'm the most wanted guy in America or whatever," Ryan said. "I love it here. These facilities are better than anybody's in the league, but it's about getting away. Getting away from the comfort of this place, of the surrounding areas where their homes are and all that and putting them in a camp situation where all they've got is each other."

Several NFL teams hold their camps away from their facilities, including the Giants, who train in Albany, N.Y. The Jets trained for the last 40 years at Hofstra University on Long Island before moving to Florham Park after camp last year. Ryan's previous team, the Baltimore Ravens, trained in nearby Westminster, Md.

Some fans worry a move to upstate New York would put the Jets in Buffalo Bills country, far from the team's primary fan base of New Jersey, Long Island and New York City.

"We're focused on us; we're focused on the New York Jets," Ryan said. "We're trying to build this football team, OK? And if we do it in Alaska, it might be a bit of a trip, but if that's where training camp is, it's about our football team."