All quiet at Lehigh as Eagles start camp

BETHLEHEM, Pa. - July 22, 2013

Instead, the Birds will hold camp at the NovaCare Complex in South Philadelphia.

To many people around Lehigh, the silence feels strange.

"It's very quiet, but I think most people at Lehigh really do miss having the Eagles here,' said softball coach Fran Troyan.

"I would come, like, every other day or so. It was a lot of fun, I kind of miss it," said Matt Troyan.

"There were always people asking for directions and the arrows telling you where to go. Now it's just like nothing," said groundskeeper Nikki Petras.

Meanwhile, the nearby Starters Pub on Route 378 would normally be packed at lunchtime during training camp, but not this year.

"It was a big disappointment for a lot of the local businesses and the fans I think," said manager Tanya Bubori.

Over the years Deja Brew coffeehouse and deli in downtown Bethlehem became a hangout for sports writers and some from the Eagles front office.

They may have moved training camp to Philadelphia, but to say 'thanks' to the team they delivered a jersey with the coffeehouse name on it and the number 17, for the number of years the birds were in town.

"The publicity was fantastic it was really wonderful so, yes, we're going to miss those guys. Not only was it good for business but we became friendly with a lot of those guys," said owner Jef Vaclavik.

"A few years back John Harbaugh was the special teams coach. He and I sat down and he talked to me just like I knew him," remembered Jim Fritsch of Lower Saucon.

Those days are gone now, and it will take time to assess the economic impact. But, it's agreed the one thing no one here will miss is the traffic.

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