It's almost happy-happy fun time!
Across the National Football League, many rookies have already reported for training camp. Veterans will begin to do the same on Saturday, starting with the Bills in Buffalo.
In many ways, it's fitting that things kick off in Western New York. The Bills are one of a number of teams with big questions to answer in training camp, thanks to the torn ACL suffered by linebacker Kiko Alonso.
Some of those holes will be filled by the cream of this year's rookie crop. However, for every big name who shines in training camp, there's one who comes seemingly from nowhere.
Sometimes it's a young player or rookie. Entering training camp two years ago, Alfred Morris of the Washington Redskins was a late-round running back from a small Florida school. After starring in camp and the preseason as a rookie, Morris earned the starting job.
Two seasons and nearly 2,900 yards on the ground later, the 25-year-old Morris is considered one of the best young backs in the league.
Other times, it's a veteran. Last year, James Ihedigbo went from career special-teamer to starter at strong safety for the Baltimore Ravens after surprisingly outplaying rookie first-round pick Matt Elam in camp.
Sixteen starts and 101 tackles later, the 30-year-old got a nice free-agent deal from the Detroit Lions.
It takes something of a perfect storm for a player to make a name for himself. With injuries to various starters and some players in new team environments, the following must take advantage of any opportunity to carve out a prominent role with a strong performance in camp.
For these players, dark clouds are gathering. In a good way.