Training camp starts this weekend, and the hungry hoards of NFL writers will finally have something concrete to write about.
In anticipation of Chip Kelly’s second camp as Eagles head coach and with hopes the Eagles might return to the playoffs with their second straight NFC East title, let’s look back at some of the most memorable moments from training camps past.
5. Mamula makes news
In 1997, Eagles defensive end Mike Mamula was accused of indecent exposure at a club in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. The charges were eventually dropped, but a media blitz took over camp and created one of the strangest incidents in recent Eagles’ memory.
4. Kelly arrives
Chip Kelly’s first training camp at the helm of the Eagles did little to end speculation over what his high-powered offense would look like in the NFL. But he did bring a new age in the history of the storied franchise as the team eventually unveiled their record-setting offense and made an improbable playoff run in 2013.
3. The T.O. show
The Eagles were on a roll in 2004. Fresh off a string of NFC championship game appearances, the club added loud-mouth wide receiver Terrell Owens and would eventually advance all the way to the Super Bowl. On one hot afternoon that July, over 25,000 fans went to Lehigh, with thousands more stuck in terrible traffic, seeking to watch Owens and the Birds get ready for their fateful season.
2. The Dream team
Vince Young called the Eagles “the dream team” prior to training camp in 2011. And though on paper the team looked good enough to run away with the city’s first-ever Super Bowl title, they went a meager 8-8 and the failure was the beginning of the end for the Andy Reid era.
It’s been almost 40 years since Vince Papale, a part-time teacher at Interboro High School inspired the movie “Invincible” by making the Eagles as an undrafted free agent during training camp in 1976. It was a story for the ages, and one uniquely fit for Philadelphia. He played three seasons with the Birds as a special teams contributor and was the Eagles’ special teams captain in 1978. He recovered two fumbles and recorded one 15-yard reception as a pro.
Follow Metro Philly sports editor Evan Macy on Twitter @evan_macy.