JACKSONVILLE – The Jaguars are taking training camp back to school – and into the community.
And they're doing it this summer in about as significant a fashion as an NFL team can do it, moving a training camp practice to a local high school.
The Jaguars will hold one 2014 training camp practice – Monday, July 28 at 7 p.m. – at Bartram Trail High School in St. Johns County, Jaguars President Mark Lamping and General Manager David Caldwell announced Wednesday morning.
The practice will be free and open to the public.
"It's just another sign that the Jaguars want to be fully integrated into the community," Lamping said Wednesday after the announcement, which took place at the Florida Blue Health and Wellness Practice Fields shortly before the Jaguars' second practice of 2014 organized team activities.
"Sometimes, you need to take the show on the road."
St. Johns County Superintendent of Schools Joseph Joyner said the practice will be a huge event for the county. The NFL rebuilt Bartram Trail's field as part of preparations for the Super Bowl at EverBank Field in February 2005.
"There will be a big crowd," he said. "We'll do it right for them."
Caldwell and Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley have said often they want fans to experience the team's journey with the team, and Caldwell said Wednesday this move fit with that.
"It's just a great opportunity for us," Caldwell said. "I know Mark's vision and (Owner) Shad (Khan)'s vision for our team and organization is to give back to the community wherever we can. For us to bring our brand of Monday Night Football to Bartram Trail is great. I think it's going to be a great event not only for the community but for us as a team."
Caldwell said this likely isn't the last practice away from the team's facility.
"We're going to take this show on the road multiple times over the course of the next couple of years," Caldwell said. "This is our first step."
Bradley also spoke briefly just before the team's practice. He said he and Caldwell had talked previously about the possibility of a practice away from the facility.
"The way the schedule works out, it works out perfectly," Bradley said. "We talked when we started about connecting with the following. Any opportunity we have to share our vision and bring our following along with us, we're going to take advantage of that. Our players are going to be extremely excited and I know our coaching staff and organization will be as well."
Not all NFL teams are comfortable taking a training camp practice away from the facility, and Lamping said the support and enthusiasm about the idea from football operations was critical.
"These things don't happen without full support and buy-in from the general manager as well as the head coach," Lamping said. "Fortunately, both Gus and Dave believe these things are great for the organization and great for the team and I think our fans will benefit."
Jaguars announce two minicamp practices open to public on June 17 and 18
The Jaguars will open the first two days of the club's mandatory minicamp to the public on Tuesday, June 17 and Wednesday, June 18, General Manager David Caldwell announced today. Both practices are scheduled to run from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. on the Florida Blue Practice Fields. The club announced last week that its OTA practice on Thursday, June 5 will be open to the public from 10:50 a.m. to 12:50 p.m.