A bus carrying first-year players, head coach Rex Ryan and other Jets officials stopped on Main Street between Court and Tompkins Streets in downtown Cortland Thursday afternoon. The annual summer visit is always a huge economic boost to the area. "This is an exciting three weeks for everyone involved, whether loyal fan, dedicated business owner or proud community member," said City of Cortland Mayor Brian Tobin. "It's a tremendous opportunity to showcase our city and celebrate one of Central New York's most unique connections to a professional sports team."
Ashley Neff colored her hair green for this afternoon as her team came into town. "I like seeing the players once in a while before we get the football season started," says Neff.
Noel Passeri was sporting his Jets gear today. "There's just a really nice mentality where everyone's gathered in main street and you just get to see people you haven't seen for a while and the jets are a big deal coming into town it just gets the town buzzing a lot," says Passeri.
Ryan introduced some of the Jets' new players to the crowd, including Geno Smith, then thanked the community for its support. Several hundred people packed that section of Main Street to welcome the team with cheers, signs and chants of "J-E-T-S, Jets, Jets, Jets!" "The Cortland community is looking forward to the return of our New York Jets," said Bob Haight, the executive director of the Cortland County Chamber of Commerce. "When fans visit Cortland, the economic impact is a huge boost to our local economy and the energy that is generated by having them here is noticeable to us all.
"You'll see signs throughout the area welcoming the Jets and their fans. We're glad to have them back."
Mitchell Seweryn is the general manager for Mark's Pizzeria "Bar activity picks up really liven up the main street here in Cortland. With that being said they tend to eat and go out and have a lot of fun. Jets come down town they hang out with them, it's great all around really," says Seweryn.
The Jets will train at SUNY Cortland for three weeks, leaving Aug. 15. During that time, the team will hold 15 public practices which fans are invited to watch for free. "We are excited to welcome the Jets back to Cortland and our beautiful campus for a fourth year of summer training camp," SUNY Cortland President Erik J. Bitterbaum said. "Their arrival is something that the Cortland community looks forward to every summer."
The team will hold its popular Green and White Scrimmage, during which the first-string offense and first-string defense go head-to-head in the SUNY Cortland Stadium Complex, at 6 p.m. on Aug. 3.
Daily practices will be from 10 a.m. until noon. Gates open at 9 a.m. and close at 1 p.m. In addition to the action on the field, visitors can enjoy Jets Fest, a football theme park for kids, and shop for official team merchandise in the Jets Shop. Fans are invited to attend open practices, but schedules are subject to change. For more information, call the team's fan line at (973) 549-4844 or click here.
All camp visitors will be subject to new security procedures upon entry. Unlike previous years, this will include screening and bag searches. Visitors should also be aware that SUNY Cortland, including the Jets practice fields, is now a tobacco-free campus. No tobacco products of any kind may be used on the property.