NFL History: 5 Best Training Camp Stories of All Time

Joe IannelloAnalyst IIIJuly 20, 2011

NFL History: 5 Best Training Camp Stories of All Time

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    The NFL Lockout is seemingly coming to an end and preparations have already begun across the league for training camp. Stands and tents are being put-up at colleges across the country for the arrival of their teams.

    Each year every team in the NFL has players jostling for a starting position and things can get pretty heated during the dog-days of August. NFL training camps have given fans some of the most inspiring and heartwarming stories ever. 

    Summer camp is a time when fans can watch their favorite team and players up-close and personal without costing them a fortune. Some teams have already stated that they will not be traveling for camp next month and that is a crying shame.

    The fans of the NFL are some of the most passionate and loyal fans in the world, and they deserve the opportunity to see their team play in person at little cost to them for once.

    Here is a look at five of the best NFL Training Camp stories of all time.

5. Philadelphia Can't Say No to "Eagle Joe"

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    Joe Borden or 'Eagle Joe' as he is known by the Philadelphia Eagles has been a staple at training camp since 1975 when practices were held at Widener University. The Eagles were at Widener until 1979, but they relocated to West Chester before finally settling on Lehigh in 1995.

    That's right, 'Eagle Joe' has been attending training camp for over 35 years. In 1988, coach Buddy Ryan gave Borden special sideline access, and he has had it ever since. Each coach that has succeeded Ryan honored the tradition of allowing Joe Borden to stand on the sidelines.

    Three years ago, however, Borden was declared legally blind after losing his eyesight for years. He realized that he would be unable to drive to Lehigh University anymore for training camp.

    His streak was in serious jeopardy.

    The Philadelphia Eagles caught wind of the story and arranged for 'Eagle Joe' to be transported to camp a few times each summer by limousine. If you ever have the opportunity to attend training camp at Lehigh, make sure you keep an eye out for Joe Borden on the sidelines.

    Through all of the disrespect that has been shown towards the fans during this lockout, it is great to see that some NFL franchises are willing to go the extra mile for their supporters in need.

4. That Doesn't Look Like Michael Strahan!

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    That guy in the picture doesn't look like Michael Strahan does he? That's because it is former defensive tackle William Joseph.

    Back in 2007, Michael Strahan was holding out of training camp for more money. New York Giant fans obviously wanted to see fan favorite No. 92 from 'Big Blue' and they were shocked when he ran onto the field.

    The crowd was clapping, cheering and shouting in praise. No. 92 was running around, slapping hands with all the fans and basically pumping up the crowd. The only problem was that it was William Joseph who was wearing Strahan's jersey.

    Many fans were so enraged by this action that they screamed for him to be cut immediately, but cooler heads have since prevailed and we can all laugh at how funny of an act this really was.

3. Olin Kreutz Is a Funny Guy

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    Olin Kreutz is seemingly the definition of a Chicago Bear. He is tough, smart, grizzled and funny? Kreutz pulled off a prank that will still go down as one of the funniest in NFL training camp history, and also one of the most embarrassing for Kyle Orton. 

    Orton was a rookie in 2005 and was amazed when one of the team leaders in Olin Kreutz asked him to sign a helmet for his family. Orton was happy to oblige and gave the helmet back to Kreutz with a big smile on his face.

    Seems pretty harmless does it not? The problem with the autograph was that Orton unknowingly just signed his own helmet and he would have to go through an entire practice with his own signature on his helmet.

    At least he was easily recognized by the coaches.

2. Chris Cooley Welcomes Donovan McNabb with an Odd Gift

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    Donovan McNabb has always been a guy that likes to joke around and have a good time. McNabb has been a class-act his entire career while enduring some of the most intense criticism of any player during the 2000's.

    Chris Cooley thought that it would be a great idea to show the new face of the franchise that his teammates like a good joke as much as him. So, he arranged for a child to hide in McNabb's locker for quite a while and then jump out and scare him.

    It's amazing how something this easy to arrange is so hilarious. In my opinion anyways.

1. Make a Wish Foundation

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    Some of the top players in the NFL have granted the wishes of many children that are involved with the Make a Wish Foundation. Aaron Rodgers and Tim Tebow are just two of many players that were asked by this noble foundation if they could spend a day with a sick child.

    Every sports fan can remember that one special player who they would have given up almost anything to meet. Well, some of these children and teenagers suffer from terminal illnesses and their only wish is to spend a day with their hero.

    No matter how big a star someone becomes they should always find the time to fulfill a request from the Make a Wish Foundation. 

    Much kudos to all of the NFL players that have been involved in the past and will be involved in the future.This was an easy choice for the No. one spot to say the least.