Lions not interested in taking training camp on the road

Justin Rogers
The Detroit News

Phoenix — Over the years, the Detroit Lions have held training camp at college campuses around the state of Michigan, including Saginaw Valley State, Oakland, Eastern Michigan and Alma, as well as a lengthy stint at Cranbrook from 1957-74. 

The Lions have had training camp in Allen Park since 2002.

But since 2002, camp has been conducted at the team's practice facility in Allen Park. And there isn't any consideration to taking the show back on the road any time soon. 

"No talk about it," team president Rod Wood said. "Logistically that's a challenge, and having now played and practiced against teams on the road, we know what it's like to move your entire operation. To move it permanently for training camp, I think would be more than the benefit you might get from being away. It's not on our radar."

Additionally, some teams are exploring taking preseason games on the road. The Rams are hosting the Cowboys in Hawaii this year and the Oakland Raiders reportedly looked into hosting a game in Saskatchewan. 

Again, the Lions have no interest. 

"I would not want to give up a home game, even a preseason game," Wood said. "I think it's important for our fans to be able to easily get to the games and watch our team play. Get to know players who are new this year, maybe players who are fighting for roster spots."

Wood even dismissed a game at another location in the state, whether that be the Upper Peninsula, Grand Rapids or Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor. 

"The other thing, it's preseason for the people that run Ford Field too," Wood said. "It's a good opportunity for everyone to get back into the swing of getting people in and out of the building, taking care of people through the concession process. So I think if we gave up a home preseason game, we would lose the benefit of that opportunity to get everyone back in the football mood."

One offseason routine that figures to continue this summer is joint practices with another team, possibly two. The Lions restarted the process in 2016, working with the Steelers in Latrobe, Pa. The next year, the team held a pair of practices with the Colts in Indianapolis, and last season it was sessions with the Raiders in Napa Valley and the Giants in Allen Park. 

Lions coach Matt Patricia called joint practices "critically important" for helping break up the monotony of routine and giving his players an opportunity to be evaluated against different talent and schemes.  

"We spent quite a bit of time about that prior to submitting our preseason request," Wood said. "We have submitted requests with joint practices in mind, and hopefully the league can work it out."