June 13, 2014 at 1:20 pm

Lions coach Jim Caldwell approves of having training camp at team headquarters

Allen Park — While some NFL teams travel to nearby colleges or leave the state entirely for training camp, the Lions will once again hold their camp right at team headquarters in 2014.

And that's exactly where coach Jim Caldwell wants it.

"Right here," he said Thursday when asked of his ideal camp site. "Right where we are right now (and) what we're doing."

The Lions finished mandatory minicamp Thursday, and players will have more than a month off before returning to the Allen Park facility for training camp at the end of July.

The New Orleans Saints will travel the farthest for camp this year, making the trek to White Sulphur Springs, W.Va. The Carolina Panthers will also leave their home of North Carolina for training camp at Wofford College in South Carolina.

The Lions have held training camp in Allen Park since the facility opened in 2002. They went to Saginaw Valley State from 1997-2001.

The three other NFC North teams have training camp at in-state colleges. The Packers go to St. Norbert College in De Pere, Wis., the Vikings to Minnesota State-Mankato and the Bears to Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, Ill.

The Baltimore Ravens, where Caldwell coached the past two years, held camp at their facility. But when he was with the Indianapolis Colts, Caldwell traveled to camp, first to Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute, Ind., from 2002-09 then to Anderson University in Anderson, Ind., from 2010-11. Caldwell was head coach of the Colts from 2009-11 after seven years as an assistant.

"I've done it both ways," he said. "When I was in Baltimore, we stayed home and worked and it worked well for us. Also, obviously in Indy we went away. But here, I think we've been accustomed to working here. It's a great facility also, and also it helps with teaching.

"Oftentimes people say when you get them away, you can galvanize them a little bit more, cut down the distractions, but I've got a veteran group here. I've got a group that has great leaders no matter where we practice. I always tell them we ought to be able to practice or play anywhere, anytime, under any conditions, and I think they'll adjust well to whatever we ask them to do.


Lions coach Jim Caldwell has experienced training camps at home and away from home in his NFL journeys. / Daniel Mears / Detroit News