Frenzied morning at Lockhart Stadium

A Chargers cheerleader signs autographs at the AFC practice. (Gary A. Vasquez /

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — NFL fans love their football, even early in the morning. Hence, the frenzied scene this morning at Lockhart Stadium.

The NFC squad just finished practice, and the AFC is up next for an hour. I’ll bring you the truth, though: When the players are on the field, most of the fans’ attention is centered on the two groups of Pro Bowl cheerleaders. As I was grinding that sentence out on my tiny BlackBerry Pearl keypad, I was made aware that five sets of pom poms in a strong wind can startle you if they sneak up from behind. I’m pretty sure our photographer worked some photos in of them and will be posting them later.

As soon as practice ended, though, the fans lining the fence around the field picked it up and hollered at their favorite players. Talking to the players as they left the field got a little sticky as I had to fight with little Billys and Johnnys for space. The little dudes get pretty aggressive when an autograph is on the line. I was afraid of accidentally taking one of them out.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is here. He was just posing for some photographs. Another cool bit is that the two coaches are mic’d up through the PA system, so fans can hear some of what they tell the players.

The AFC practice is about to start. I’ll hit you guys up with more later.

— Frank Tadych

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