CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — The New Orleans Saints will spend part of this year's NFL training camp at The Greenbrier resort in West Virginia.
The team announced the West Virginia venue in a news release Thursday. The Saints will split time this summer between The Greenbrier and their facility in Metairie, La., where they have trained for the past five years. The Saints also held camp in Metairie from 2003 to 2005.
The team hasn't released camp dates, although Greenbrier owner Jim Justice estimated the Saints would be at the resort in White Sulphur Springs from July 18 to Aug. 16. Admission for fans will be free.
"I have always been a proponent of mixing up training camp every few years, which I believe is a good strategy as we prepare for the season," Saints Executive Vice President/General Manager Mickey Loomis said in the release.
The Saints held training camp at Millsaps College in Jackson, Miss., from 2006 to 2008, and spent a week training in Oxnard, Calif., in 2009. Other Saints training camp sites have spanned the country from Vero Beach, Fla., to La Crosse, Wis.
In the release, Saints head coach Sean Payton said that The Greenbrier offers a more moderate summer climate. Payton also caddied for pro golfer Ryan Palmer at the PGA Tour's Greenbrier Classic at the resort last July.
Justice said Payton was a key to the Saints' commitment.
"Sean just fell in love with The Greenbrier and fell in love with the people from West Virginia," Justice said. "That led to a dialogue. The whole dialogue started with Sean. And then one thing led to another."
Justice said two natural grass practice fields and one synthetic field are being built at the resort, in addition to a 55,000-square-foot building with kitchen and dining facilities, meeting rooms, weight and locker rooms, training and physical therapy accommodations. He estimated the price tag at $20 million to $25 million.