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The Eagles Leaving Lehigh, Will Hold Training Camp In Philadelphia In 2013

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The Eagles are leaving Lehigh.

The team announced today that they will hold Training Camp at the Novacare facility, and Lincoln Financial Field this year.

The new training camp plan will include a number of free, public practices at Lincoln Financial Field, the team said. Novacare will be closed to the public, but open to the media, per NFL rules.

“There are so many people at Lehigh University who went above and beyond to accommodate us and to make training camp a special place for fans to travel each summer to get an up-close look at the team,” Eagles president Don Smolenski said in a statement. “We especially want to thank and recognize  Joe Sterrett, Dean of Athletics, who opened the doors for us 17 years ago and has been supportive every step of the way and Mary Kay Baker, Director of Conference and Special Housing Services, who was there for us on a daily basis to make sure everything ran smoothly. It’s people like them who made this such a difficult decision for us. The city of Bethlehem has been part of our lives every summer for the past 17 years.”

This will be the first Eagles training camp held in Philadelphia since 1943, when it was held at St. Joseph’s University.

“The interaction with our fans during the training camp period remains a huge priority. As such, we are currently planning to utilize the opportunities available to us at Lincoln Financial Field to have a number of open practices (which will be free) available to all of our fans. We’ll announce those specific plans in the coming weeks,” Smolenski said.

“The Eagles and Lehigh University recognize that their long standing relationship is changing but not ending,” added Smolenski, “and both parties have expressed a desire to explore community programs in the future.”