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After 13 seasons, Jets' Calvin Pace still hates training camp

New York Jets outside linebacker Calvin Pace (97)

New York Jets outside linebacker Calvin Pace (97) looks on before a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, Nov. 9, 2014. Photo Credit: Lee S. Weissman

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - After all these years, Calvin Pace still can't stand training camp.

And even a change of venue this year hasn't made it any more palatable for the 13-year veteran.

"It's cool. It's good to see civilization," the outside linebacker said dryly, referring to the Jets practicing at their New Jersey facility instead of SUNY Cortland, their training camp site for five of the previous six years. "It's a little warmer, but it's cool. Lucky for me, I don't have to go back to that dorm-room environment.

"But camp is camp, so it's bad either way."

Pace, 34, has experience on his side, but after all these years in the NFL, he still hasn't gotten accustomed to training- camp life.

"I haven't liked camp since high school. I'm serious man," he said. "I love the game, I love my teammates, I just don't need to see them all day, every day. I don't. I don't need somebody checking my room. Where else am I going to be? I'm tired, I've been up all day. But that's me. Some guys like it. That's like the only part I can do without."

Pace also noted another difference between this camp and years past: It's a grind under Todd Bowles.

"Let's just say it's a little more strenuous. In a good way," Pace said when asked to compare the past week to previous training camps under former coach Rex Ryan. "We've got to get to know him, he's got to get to know us. We're trying to put some different systems in, so there's a little bit more asked of us."

Asked how practices seem more strenuous, he said: "The volume, the reps. We're out here a little bit longer. But that's fine."

Bowles, the former Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator, has stressed that he wants his players in summer shape. That's why practice now begins at 2 p.m. rather than in the mornings, when the sun isn't so strong.

"Hottest part of the day," Pace said.

"It's definitely a different climate as far as temperature," slot receiver Jeremy Kerley added. "We come and it's 90 degrees out here. It's definitely a different mentality when you come on the field. I think the practices are a little bit tougher, but that's how you build character."

But apparently it hasn't been warm enough for his coach.

Asked if there have been any surprises in camp, Bowles said: "It probably hasn't been as hot in camp as I would like, but other than that? No."

He did say he'll take it somewhat easy on his 10-year vets from time to time during camp.

"I was thinking of ordering rocking chairs in case one of them needs it to give them a break," he joked. "Other than that, you play some time, you may get some plays off here and there to rest your legs here and there, but they work hard. They don't ask for it. You've just got to be aware of it."

While the players, coaches and general managers have changed over the years, Pace's camp complaints are like clockwork.

"I'll probably look back, like, 'How could I do that?' '' he said, half-joking. "It's like living the same day for a month. The same day, over and over again. I wish I played basketball where I can go overseas and have camp."

But there is one thing he's happy about: sleeping in a hotel room.

Said Pace: "Anything's better than dorms."

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