BETHLEHEM — The Philadelphia Eagles are flying the coop when it comes to training camp.
They’ll no longer practicing at Lehigh University in Bethlehem.
Instead, they’ll be staying in Philly.
For the past 17 years, Lehigh University swarmed with birds fans for a few weeks during the summer.
Crowds of people watching the team practice, feet away from the sidelines.
But that is all about to change as the Eagles franchise made an announcement that they will not return to the Bethlehem area for training camp this year.
“I’m thinking they’re taking the fans out of the game,” said Keith Meyerhoffer of Mount Pocono.
“I’m disappointed,” said James Burke, the owner of Burke’s Tavern in Mount Pocono.
Burke is a Philly native who also *bleeds* green as an Eagle’s fan.
“I’m upset about it because I took my nephew down there every year for the last three years. It was a tradition for us. I had a lot of fun, it was cheap, you didn’t have to float alone, you get to see the players up close. I think they’re taking that all away from us,” said Burke.
In a statement, the franchise said the demands of practice make it more difficult to replicate what the team has at its practice facilities in Philadelphia, but Burke believes the fan experience will be lost.
“They’re saying it’s at the Linc (Lincoln Financial Field), we’ll be in the stands, so there is no personality there. There’s no face to face. I’ll feel like going to a football game,” said Burke.
“Unless you’re going to make a day trip out of it, with your family, now you’re spending gas, tolls, time. Now instead of going to Lehigh, which is 40 minutes, now it’s a two, two and a half hour ride to Philly,” said Meyerhoffer.
So it seems the Eagles are giving new meaning to their fight song, “Fly, Eagles Fly,”.