One of the great things about NFL training camps is that they give both the media and public an up-close experience with players who, for most of the NFL season, are visible only at a distance or not at all.
For example, unlike the CFL where every practice during the regular season is open to the public and media, NFL practices are top-secret affairs. The exception to that is training camp as fans pack the bleachers each day to watch teams go through their paces in a way they can't once the season begins.
Same thing for the media.
In the CFL, any player is available pretty much any day of the season for a one-on-one conversation.
But cnce the NFL season begins, star players and quarterbacks are pretty much available only behind a podium. Getting a one-on-one with such a player without very special circumstances or without being a broadcast rightsholder is near impossible.
So training camp is a chance to stand and talk casually with a player like Trent Edwards, Buffalo's still young (we forget sometimes) and affable third-year quarterback.
I got a reminder of just how young Edwards is yesterday when I asked him if he'd ever met Terrell Owens before the receiver signed on with Buffalo last March.
Edwards replied that he'd never met Owens before this year but he'd watched him play live three times. One of those was a Monday night game during the 2007 season when Edwards' Bills very nearly knocked off the Cowboys.
The other two times? Two playoff games when Owens was a 49er, one against the Giants in 2001 and one against the Packers in 1999.
"I vividly remember both of those games," said Edwards.
Why does Edwards remember those games so well?
Well, he was a teenager sitting in the stands at Candlestick Park.
Yes, he's still young.