EXCLUSIVE: Adventures at New York Jets’ training camp


What is it like going to training camp of the New York Jets? It was 6:35 AM, I couldn’t wait any longer as I rolled out of bed met by the dazzling ray of sunshine basking on my face. I quickly threw on my Darrelle Revis jersey, all my Jets apparel and was ready for the day at hand. Finally, I was headed to Jets’ training camp!

This wasn’t the first time I’d been to Jets’ training camp, actually I had been there six times over the last seven years. But today was different, today was special, training camp was being hosted at the Atlantic Health Training Facilities and I was absolutely going to be there!

Taking a quick selfie with my dad before putting the car in drive and heading to Jets training camp. Paul A. Esden Jr. 8/16/2015

My father, Paul A. Esden Sr. truth be told is a die-hard Dallas Cowboys fan, but that morning on that day you wouldn’t have known that. He was decked out in Gang Green gear just to support his son for a fantastic day at Jets’ training camp. After a quick selfie with my old man to commemorate the event, we were on our way. We drove over 4 hours, 260+ miles just to see the Jets in 90 plus degree temperatures.

Paul A. Esden Jr. 8/16/2015 12:00 PM

There she was just over the horizon as I could just make out a gigantic Jets football player. Finally, I could check it off my bucket list. I had finally, as a Jets fan, made it to the hollowed grounds of Florham Park. Sure, I’ve seen videos of the facilities and the complex via NewYorkJets.com. But nothing beat the feeling of being surrounded by my own fellow Jets fans.

Paul A. Esden Jr. 8/16/2015

Walking up to the sign that actually read, “2015 Training Camp” made it official, I was here! Of course getting my pre-registered ticket scanned and walking through “Jets Fest” was amazing as always. Which is the equivalent of walking through a tent that sells all the Jets merchandise you could dream of. From Jerseys to t-shirts to hats to footballs, there was so much to choose from.

Then after you escape the tent, your nose is intrigued by the array of aromas from the variety of vendors inviting you in with welcoming smiles. The options are limitless from enchiladas to burgers to fries to Italian ices, your senses are immediately thrown under the influence.

As you continue your path towards the practice fields, you are halted by the breathtaking sight of the entrance to the palace you’ve seen hundreds of times in videos. From Darrelle Revis stepping out of the limo a few months ago rejoining the Jets to Todd Bowles stepping through the doors for the first time, this was all incredible to soak in. Though I may have not been a VIP member to actually enter the facilities, I was incredibly satisfied taking it all in from the outside looking in.

Paul A. Esden Jr. 8/16/2015

I took several minutes walking around taking in the sights, the smells, the sounds of Jets fans screaming for joy and eating delicious food. Then I started progressing back towards the practice fields, again, another site I had seen hundreds of times from a Rich Cimini ESPN video, to an Eric Allen interview, it was just as amazing as I thought it would be.

It was a beautiful day, no rain in sight, great atmosphere, friendly faces, and it was extremely hot. Before even getting to our seats in the bleachers, we went to one of the many beverage vendors and picked up several ice-cold water bottles. Then we took our seats, sat down and just took it all in.

Walking up to our seats, taking in the beautiful weather. Paul A. Esden Jr. 8/16/2015

The field was impeccable, the experience was awesome, and one of my favorite pictures from Jets training camp was of the American flag effortlessly flowing in the wind.

Paul A. Esden Jr. 8/16/2015

I keep referencing, “The Experience” and one thing the Jets did for the first time was construct this magnificent setup for fans to better take-in the days events. Take a look at the video below:

An inside look at the bleachers…

This video was taken prior to all the fans arriving, I’m the kind of fan who could be labeled as impatient. Regardless, over the next hour the bleachers were approaching full capacity and Jets fans were loud as ever. That wasn’t the end of the festivities as the Jets brass sent out a few players to top off the day with some autograph signings.

Thanks @mowilkerson for signing my shoes at #JetsCamp haha must have been a 1st #Jets @nyjets #JetUp pic.twitter.com/M6QIQI4gjW

— Paul Andrew Esden Jr (@Jetswagg25) August 18, 2015

Getting Muhammad Wilkerson to sign my hat was awesome! But the cream of the crop for me was a last second idea when D’Brickashaw Ferguson was out signing stuff along the sideline. I looked down, took off my Jets shoes and offered it before him and he smiled and signed it as if he was Michael Jordan. I also got Wilkerson to sign the other shoe and it capped off an amazing day.

So me and my dad head back to the hotel after a long hot day, absolutely exhausted. My father hands me some crumpled up change from his pocket and tells me to go fetch some drinks and snacks from the lobby. As I leave our room, I look around to find our vending machine is out of order. So I decide to hop in the elevator to the 4th floor and went to the vending machine and nearly dropped all the money right there on the carpet.

Someone got lucky staying at the same hotel as the #Jets for #JetsCamp shabooyah! #Jetup pic.twitter.com/gFEWMrtY85

— Paul Andrew Esden Jr (@Jetswagg25) August 18, 2015

I started putting all the pieces together and my jaw dropped when I realized… I was staying at the same hotel as THE JETS! So I went around exploring as any 22-year old would do and stumbled upon a wealth of Jets signs everywhere. I was getting an inside look on the daily life of my favorite football team by some luck of the draw.

Sleeping tips for the #Jets during Training Camp pic.twitter.com/B7CwhQdzei — Paul Andrew Esden Jr (@Jetswagg25) August 18, 2015

Jets Shuttle for Laundry services pic.twitter.com/NvjMG1980N

— Paul Andrew Esden Jr (@Jetswagg25) August 18, 2015

So just when I thought I had capped off the greatest day in my life, I had encountered another miracle. I even had the opportunity to run into a few players and coaches while checking out all this stuff. Luckily I played it cool and kept it professional in lieu of freaking out when I had a conversation with the assistant head coach Mike Caldwell.

Or when I ran into Ferguson, coming out of his hotel room and said, “What’s up Brick?” as if I knew him on a personal level, who would have thought me dressed in full Jets gear was the biggest disguise I could have thought of. As most of the players and coaches figured I worked for the team.

I know seeing some of these things won’t mean anything to some people reading this article, but to me it meant all the world. Not every Jets fan will get lucky enough to have the day I had at Florham Park, but everything was quite the adventure of one die-hard Jets fan who got to live out his dream.

Here’s an inside look at the rest of the photos I took from Jets’ training camp. It was an awesome experience and for those Jets fans who haven’t had the opportunity to go, I hope I gave everyone a taste of what it is like here in Florham Park. Take a look at my other article featuring an in-depth look at exactly how the Jets hold their team practices during training camp.

Enjoy all the pictures and Let’s Go Jets!

Next: New York Jets: Starting Ryan Fitzpatrick won't hurt season

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