Not all of the Saints’ 2014 training camp this summer will be in the oppressive heat of Metairie, where their practice facilities are located. Some of it will be amid the relatively milder temperatures at a luxury golf resort in West Virginia, the team announced Thursday.
According to the Saints, as they’ve done since 2009, they’ll still host training camp sessions open to fans in Metairie. But part of the camp that helps the Saints determine the 53-man roster they’ll open the 2014 regular season with will unfold at The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, W.V.
Saints General Manager Mickey Loomis in a written statement said they value engaging local fans, but he added that going out of town can be beneficial for teams. He alluded to the week the Saints spent in Oxnard, Calif., in 2011, after which they set an NFL record for yards on offense.
From 2006 to 2008, they held training camp in Jackson, Miss.
They reached the first NFC Championship Game in franchise history at the end of the 2006 season.
“We feel like this decision will allow our team to best prepare for our 2014 season by practicing at our facility and also taking advantage of a more moderate climate and setting in West Virginia,” Loomis said. “With this plan, we get the best of both and that is important. We get quality practices in both locations and we get the benefits of having our fans support us during our time at home in Metairie and we get the opportunity for our team to unite at a location away from home.”
The Saints didn’t say this in their announcement, but coach Sean Payton may have gotten the idea when he caddied for golfer Ryan Palmer at last June’s Greenbrier Classic, a PGA Tour event hosted at the resort that is considered a National Historic landmark.
“By splitting training camp between New Orleans and The Greenbrier, we will have a great opportunity to further enhance our training camp in 2014,” Payton said in the team’s statement, which noted The Greenbrier had received 26 U.S. presidents as guests since about two years after the United States declared their independence. “We all understand the importance of training camp and ultimately, that’s to get the team ready for the regular season.
“As far as the time we will spend at The Greenbrier, it offers a tremendous opportunity to our team in a more moderate summer climate.”
The Saints said they’ll finalize the dates of all their training camp practices at a later time.