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NFL lockout could cause Flagstaff to miss out

As the possibility that NFL football could become a thing of the past as the 2010-2011 season looms, the home of the Arizona Cardinals training camp is taking stock of the situation.

One person doesn’t like what he sees.

As I watched the Northern Arizona football program conduct a high school skills camp today at the practice fields, I realized that the popular Cardinal training camp on campus might not happen if the lockout persists.

Steve Shaff of NAU Media Relations wrote in a blog post about how special the Cardinals training camp is to NAU and the city of Flagstaff, but money was the least of his concerns. Shaff talks about the one-of-a-kind experience of seeing a professional football player walk into his favorite restaurant or shopping for groceries.

While some may roll their eyes and suggest this kind of thing is only reserved for the star-struck, think again. Often times children are in these areas as well. For them, seeing these players walk around town is like Superman, Batman and Spiderman all coming to their birthday party.

Flagstaff often falls by the wayside in light of all the “big” news in Phoenix, but for those three weeks of camp, Flagstaff is the center of attention. The training fields the Cardinals use have been rated by Sports Illustrated as one of the top five training camps in the league and have been featured several times by the magazine.

The Cardinals will likely stay in Tempe in the event of an extended lockout, forsaking a two-hour drive for the comfort of a short trip to work. But they also forsake a mountain town that looks forward to its three-week glimpse of the NFL limelight.


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