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Saints set new bar for training camp with posh site

By Jim Corbett

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W. Va. – It takes just a few minutes to realize that training-camp paradise is tucked behind the guarded gate to the iconic Greenbrier resort after a long Wednesday drive from central Maryland through the steep mountains of Virginia and West Virginia.

Hey, was that golfer Bubba Watson who just drove past my Jeep as the security guard checks on my identification?

Yep, “Bubba Golf’’ indeed lives here. So does Nick Faldo as well as former Los Angeles Lakers legend and West Virginia native, Jerry West.

And for the next three weeks, this Holy Grail of NFL summer camp sites will be home to the New Orleans Saints, who arrived on a team charter flight at 4 p.m.

What awaits coach Sean Payton’s Saints? To borrow from a long ago song about West Virginia, it is almost heaven.

Greenbrier owner Jim Justice and the crew of 500 workers he contracted have built a jewel out of a vacant Allegheny Mountain hillside.

In 27 years covering the NFL, I’ve never witnessed a setting like the $30-million, state-of-the-art jewel that will greet the Saints tomorrow when players report to three, 10-week old fields, meeting rooms and training complex.

The grass sure seems greener here. The views of the rolling hills are straigh from a postcard. There is seating for 3,000 fans and likely standing room for a couple thousand more. And oh yeah, coaches and players will spend three weeks at the historic, opulent Greenbrier, not in some stuffy college dorm room with a snoring, 300-pound lineman.

This place reinforces Payton’s reputation as a player’s coach, even if he figures to push his team harder to toughen it in the cooler climate that is in stark contrast to the stifling, 100-degree humidity of Metarie, La., where the Saints trained the last three years.

“These guys are going to love it here,’’ project manager Don Sproules told USA TODAY Sports as he flew a drone to photograph his company, Clancys and Theys’ ultimate triumph. “This was a cut above anything we’ve ever done before.’’

Two natural grass fields sodded in May and a third, FieldTurf site in case of bad weather were getting finishing touches.

There are other cool settings around the league such as St. Vincent College, nestled in the rolling hills of Latrobe, Pa., where the Pittsburgh Steelers have camped for 48 years.

But Justice just raised the training-camp bar – consider it the gold standard that is sure to be the envy — and buzz among 31 other teams.

Article here with pictures >> http://q.usatoday.com/2014/07/23/saints-set-new-bar-for-training-camp-with-posh-site/

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Your jealousy and tears of envy are delicious.

You know it's eating you guys alive. It's OK if you can't admit it. smile.png

Envious of what? That while we're down here toughening up in the 95 degree heat and 99% humidity, you pusswahs will be up at a mountainside Country Club drinking Fuzzy Nipples, and playing Backgammon?

Nah... More like amazed, that Payton would be so soft.tongue.png

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Envious of what? That while we're down here toughening up in the 95 degree heat and 99% humidity, you pusswahs will be up at a mountainside Country Club drinking Fuzzy Nipples, and playing Backgammon?

Nah... More like amazed, that Payton would be so soft.tongue.png

I don't think Payton intends on being soft considering his girlfriend lives in the area ;)
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