Nassau wants Jets back on LI for training

Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez hands the ball to

Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez hands the ball to running back Shonn Greene during practice in New Jersey. (January 21, 2011) (Credit: Joe Epstein)

Nassau County officials are making a Hail Mary pass to the New York Jets to bring the team's summer training camp back to Long Island, though the team says it's currently not interested in returning.

The Jets, which trained at Hofstra University for 40 years, moved their camp to Florham Park, N.J., in 2008. The team now conducts its three-week offseason practice at SUNY Cortland, 30 miles south of Syracuse.

Deputy County Executive Rob Walker wants the Jets to move their camp to Mitchel Field in Uniondale when their deal with Cortland expires. "This is real serious for me," Walker said. "The Jets have a history on Long Island."

Jets Executive Vice President of Business Operations Matt Higgins splashed water on the county's plan, noting that the team has "no plans in the foreseeable future" to relocate its training camp. The Jets have committed to practice at Cortland through 2013 and the team has an option for two additional years.

"We have told the county that we are not interested in moving camps because we are quite happy at Cortland," Higgins said. The Jets would consider holding a one-night public workout at Mitchel Field in the future, Higgins said. The team has had the one-day event at Hofstra the past two years.

The effort to bring to the Jets back began on July 5 when Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano approached Jets owner Woody Johnson at a private reception on Nassau's North Shore and asked him what it would take to bring the team back, Walker said. Johnson told the county to speak with Higgins, he said.

Nassau has hinged its proposal on an Aug. 1 vote that would allow the county to spend up to $400 million for a new Nassau Coliseum and a minor league baseball park, also at the Mitchel Field Athletic Complex. The deal must also clear the county Legislature and the Nassau Interim Finance Authority, a state watchdog, which controls the county's finances.

County officials expect to spend up to $375 million on the two new facilities, leaving another $25 million available for additional improvements.

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