After weekend trip to Grand Rapids, Lions head coach Dan Campbell offered openness to the idea of taking training camp on the road.
To open his press conference to open mandatory minicamp on Tuesday, Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell talked about a trip to Grand Rapids last weekend for his daughter's volleyball tournament.
"It was good stuff. A lot of fans out there, and they were great," Campbell said. "It was good to get out there. A lot of good fans out there and it almost felt like it was, ‘Hey man, don’t forget about us, you know?’ And we don't.""
Campbell's comments follow what Lions president Rod Wood said at the league meetings in March. Wood talked then about eventually moving the team facility to somewhere other than Allen Park. However Wood did not like the idea of taking training camp on the road.
"I would rather have a bigger practice facility with more fan experience than stay where we are and go on the road for training camp,” Wood said."
Dan Campbell acknowledges challenges of having training camp practice on the road
There are obvious considerations for the Lions to take training camp on the road, even just for a practice or two. Campbell acknowledged those.
"A lot of it comes down to the logistics of it," Campbell said. "Where are we practicing? What is this turf like? What is the field? So, we have thought about it, but that’s about as far as it has gone.""
Outside of joint practices elsewhere (see Indianapolis last year) and the Family Fest event at Ford Field, the Lions don't venture outside the confines of Allen Park for training camp much. Former head coach Jim Caldwell held camp practices at Wayne State in 2014 and at Novi High School in 2015.
As Jeff Risdon of Lions Wire noted, there are two Divison II college programs (Grand Valley State and Davenport) in the Grand Rapids area with "modern facilities" and "fan-friendly stadiums." That would seem like a good fit for Lions' camp practices, if they ever consider moving any away from the team facility. The idea has been opened up by no less an authority than the head coach.