This surprising NFL team will hold training camp in Southern California


In nearly every year since the Los Angeles Rams returned to the Southland, the Super Bowl LVI champs have held their annual training camp at the University of California, Irvine. This year, a surprising NFL team will take over the site.

The New Orleans Saints on Friday announced that they’ll train at the Orange County university this summer as the franchise awaits the construction of a new cafeteria at its Louisiana training facility. Because of the massive construction zone at that facility, the team needed a temporary location to train ahead of the 2024 season.

“The scope of this project makes it difficult to host training camp on-site in 2024, given the extensive needs for our team to prepare for the regular season,” said Saints Executive Vice President/General Manager Mickey Loomis. “We are thankful to be able to come to an agreement with the University of California, Irvine to host training camp, providing us with exceptional fields and facilities that are critical to our football team receiving the necessary work in preparation for the 2024 season.”

New Orleans Saints wide receiver Rashid Shaheed, right, celebrates his touchdown catch with wide receiver Lynn Bowden Jr. (5) during the first half of an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Rams, Thursday, Dec. 21, 2023, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Ryan Sun)

Crawford Field at UCI’s athletic complex is 12 acres and has space for five regulation football fields. New Orleans will announce its full schedule, including the dates that will be open to the public, in the near future.

The move obviously displaces the Rams, who have held camp there every year since they returned to Los Angeles in 2016 with exception to the pandemic-affected 2020 season.

Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay, left, signs autographs for fans at the NFL football team’s practice facility in Irvine, Calif. Sunday, July 31, 2022. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

There was no immediate word on where the team will hold its training camp this summer, though the team expects its new Woodland Hills training facility to be ready by the preseason, according to Jourdan Rodrigue of The Athletic. It’s not known if it would be ready to host an NFL training camp by the summer.

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