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NFL keeping every team at home for training camp

Detroit Lions outside linebacker Christian Jones hits a blocking pad during a training camp practice with the Texans on Aug. 15, 2019, in Houston. (AP file photo)

Tim Flynn was looking forward to one final year as the mayoral host of training camp for the Dallas Cowboys in Oxnard, California.

So much for that.

The pandemic forced the NFL to abandon, at least for this year, the fading but still time-honored tradition of teams traveling to training camp.

The league’s version of a stay-at-home order will end the latest California run for the Cowboys, stop the 54-year streak for the Pittsburgh Steelers in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, and keep the Carolina Panthers away from the only campsite the 25-year-old franchise has known.

And Flynn won’t get that final, formal goodbye with Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. Camps are scheduled to start July 28.

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Kendrick Bourne, left, jokes with middle linebacker Kwon Alexander during a combined training camp with the Denver Broncos at the Broncos' headquarters in Englewood, Colo., on Aug. 16, 2019. All 32 NFL teams have been told by Commissioner Roger Goodell to hold training camps at their home facilities this summer because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Most NFL teams stay at their training complexes year-round, but Dallas, Pittsburgh, Kansas City and Buffalo are among those that stage training camp elsewhere. (AP file photo)

“It’s a little bit of a disappointment for me individually because I’m moving on,” said Flynn, who is running for another office in Ventura County after 14 years on the Oxnard City Council, the last eight as mayor.

“But you know what? I’ll still be able to see the practices. I just won’t be mayor doing it. That’s kind of like my own special relationship there.”

Flynn is confident the Cowboys will be back after one year in Texas. Dallas will hold the entirety of camp in its home market for the first time. It will be in the sparkling facility that opened four years ago and can handle the logistics because of an indoor field that can keep players out of the Texas heat.

But even before the opening of the sprawling complex 30 minutes north of Dallas, Flynn said he never worried about whether Jones would quit bringing the Cowboys to California.

Officials with Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina, are preparing for the permanent departure of the Panthers. The club is building a practice facility in Rock Hill, still in South Carolina but about 40 miles closer to downtown Charlotte.

When the new building opens, training camp and everything else will be held there — as it is with the majority of NFL teams.

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