Smolenski said more than 49,000 tickets have been distributed for the July 28 first public session at the Linc, which will be a practice, not a contrived skills exhibition like Flight Night, the former Linc training-camp experience. That means you should prepare to have your ears assaulted by the soundtrack new coach Chip Kelly uses to inure his team to crowd noise on the road.
Obviously, the Linc can't reproduce the intimate scale of training camp at Lehigh, where the Eagles ventured every summer for the past 17 years, even with features such as letting kids 14 and under go down to the playing surface to catch a pass from an Eagles alumni member after practice. But just as obviously, you could never fit 49,000 people into the grandstands at Lehigh. Though the Eagles leaving Lehigh is a big loss for Lehigh Valley fans, if you live anywhere south of Conshohocken, you probably have easier access to camp at the Linc. The Eagles said people who depend on public transit have told the team how much they appreciate the move.
"I think they'll like the energy" of Kelly's practices, Smolenski said. "I'm interested to see that myself. I've seen it now through all of the OTAs and the minicamp . . . from the music, and the enthusiasm, and just the pace of it, I think that will be intriguing to ."
Smolenski noted that the NovaCare practices "will be very intimate," since the field area is actually smaller than what the Eagles used at Lehigh. Of course, only corporate sponsors and 50 or so season-ticketholders a day will be on hand for the NovaCare work.
The field configuration at NovaCare has been changed over the past month, with four fields now all running perpendicular to Broad Street, to try to maximize the practice area and make taping practice easier.
Kelly also has spurred changes in the weight room, and enhanced the communications equipment, such as adding screens around the facility with the players' daily schedule and other tidbits.
At the Linc, Smolenski said, "while we can't replicate the intimacy, hopefully we can create a fun, festive atmosphere."
Parking will be free. Concession stands at the Linc will be open, but no alcohol will be sold, Smolenski said. Each fan will get a scratch-off ticket upon entering, and the winners will gain admittance to an autograph session after practice. Because of the complications of the Eagles' schedule and the Linc's schedule, there is no provision for rain dates, Smolenski said. All practices are scheduled for 12:30 p.m.
On Twitter: @LesBowen