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Broncos' Vic Fangio understands the value in keeping training camp practices open to public

Shalise Manza Young
Yahoo Sports Contributor

While the Philadelphia Eagles have (somewhat surprisingly) decided to show their fans a metaphorical middle finger this summer, with just one training camp session open to the public — and they are charging for that one practice — other teams are still more welcoming.

Vic Fangio: ‘It’s a good thing’

The Denver Broncos will have 19 camp practices open to the public, offering ample opportunity for fans to see their favorite team up close.

Denver Broncos coach Vic Fangio said he likes having fans at training camp. (Getty Images)

Because they play in the Hall of Fame game against the Atlanta Falcons, the Broncos are able to open camp earlier than most clubs. Players were to report on Wednesday (though rookie Drew Lock was holding out while seeking a sweetened deal since he’s a quarterback), and the team will have its first practice on Thursday.

First-year coach Vic Fangio was asked about the team keeping so many practices open (the Cowboys will have 20, which will likely be most in the NFL), and he said he welcomes it.

“I think it’s good to have the fans out there,” Fangio said. “The history of the NFL, you had to go to college campuses back in the day because [team] facilities didn’t look like this. When I first went to the Saints in the mid-80s, we had an 80-yard grass field. We had no cafeteria. Guys would go to a greasy deli for lunch right across the street.

“So you were forced to go to small college campuses to have your two-a-days because they had a cafeteria, because they had classrooms and because they had dorms to sleep in. A byproduct of that was fans would come and watch.

“I think one of the things - small thing - that has driven the NFL to it being the most popular sport in the country is that you let people come and watch practice, people that maybe can’t afford to go to the games and maybe get an autograph from a player, maybe a player shakes their hand or throws them a sweatband or a glove.

“You do that with a young person, you got a fan for life and football has a fan for life. There’s more to be gained out of that than any advertising slogan or any commercial that you put on TV.

“So I think it’s a good thing and I’ll embrace it, the players will embrace it. I wish there could be more [fans] here. But I think about half or less of the NFL teams now don’t go to college campuses and don’t have the wherewithal to have people at their facilities to watch practices, and I think it’s a little bit of a negative.”

Only 10 of the league’s 32 teams still hold training camp away from the team facility.

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