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Less time in Flag -- for a reason

With the Cardinals setting their Flagstaff training camp schedule in stone today, it is the camp's length that quickly draws the attention. Once upon a time, camp in Flag was six weeks long (that was before my time, and the old-schoolers around the franchise remember when camp would start in late June for the St. Louis Cardinals -- ugh). This year, the Cards are only at camp 21 days, and that includes three days in which the team won't even physically be up north thanks to the preseason opener in Pittsburgh (and a fourth "off" day on the second weekend up north).

However, this isn't some master plan to keep the players healthy or because the Cards don't want to be in Flag. Simply, the players cannot be asked to report sooner than 15 days before the first preseason game. The game is Aug. 13; going back 15 days before that makes July 29 -- reporting day. The NFL season is starting a week later, so the Cards are going to camp a week later.

However, Northern Arizona University is starting the fall semester the same time as always. The dorms the team stays in are needed for students (that's always the exclamation point on the end of camp; me trying to rap out a final story in my dorm room while the kids and their parents are swarming the joint) and need to be available. The team has to be out by then. Hence, a shorter camp.

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