FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. – Drake London wanted to be at work early on the first day Falcons veterans reported to training camp.
That didn't happen. His plans hit a setback, one we've all dealt with at one point or another.
"I was hoping to be the first one here this morning," London said, "but I couldn't find my wallet."
Same, Drake. Same.
- Falcons Building Blocks: Drake London | Kyle Pitts | Troy Andersen | Bijan Robinson | A.J. Terrell | Chris Lindstrom
- One burning question for each position group post-minicamp: Pt. I, the offense | Part II, the defense
- Falcons camp previews: Passing game | Secondary | Run game | Defensive front
- Bair: Why it'll be fascinating to watch Terry Fontenot, Arthur Smith era enter second phase
- Finding Falcons rookie series: Bijan Robinson | Matthew Bergeron | Zach Harrison | Clark Phillips III | DeMarcco Hellams | Jovaughn Gwyn
He still arrived around 7:30 a.m. on Tuesday morning, about an hour after Drew Dalman entered the team's training complex (per team sources. Ha.). The center's a hard guy to beat to the building under any circumstance, let alone the first day of school.
The timing of London's arrival was less important than way in which he came. Totally relaxed. Totally refreshed and at peace with how his laid-back offseason went.
"After I got a chance to digest everything I went through, and then just tried rest and relax, to get away from the world and recoup," London said.
What did he do?
"I'm not a big traveler," London said, "so I just wanted to stay in one spot and be with the family and my puppy."
He went home to California and chilled with his family and Stella, his young pit bull.
Then he came back to the ATL, went through the offseason program and then kept working on timing and chemistry with good friend and Falcons starting quarterback Desmond Ridder.
Ridder, London and good chunk of the Raiders receiver corps regularly worked together this summer to enhance chemistry and timing.
London enters this camp healthy, confident and more comfortable than he was a year ago.
"I know what's going to happen, what may happen, what to expect," London said. "That's why I'm a lot more relaxed this time around, I would say."
A.J. Terrell reported to his fourth training camp in the same type of mood, relaxed and full healthy, albeit an hour after London. He rolled in around 8:50 a.m.
What time did you have to be here?
"8:50," Terrell said with a laugh.
He enters camp committed to pre-hab, taking steps to prevent injury through proper treatment. That includes yoga, cold tub sessions, Epsom salt baths and plenty of time in the treatment room.
"This is my first and last day of the season feeling 100 percent," Terrell said. "I'm trying to keep my body right, even knowing the aches and pains and soreness is on the way. I'm excited about camp getting started, but this day is pretty special."
He's also looking forward to subsequent days preparing for a season with higher expectations for Terrell and the team. He also plans on taking on more of a leadership role, a space he occupied earlier than most but has thoroughly enjoyed.
"[A leadership role] slowly comes up on you quick," Terrell said. "It has been different here because of a lot of the pieces we let go of, but I feel like my transition to a vet came in my second year. I'm just building off of that right now."
Calais Campbell entered his 16th training camp in good spirits, ready to both turn things up a notch and be careful with his approach to a run of physical practices in pads.
"As you get older, you appreciate the grind a little bit more," Campbell said. "You appreciate the first-day-of-school vibe from a day like this. We're going to battle. Know it's real. Minicamp and OTAs are part of the process as well, but it's nowhere close to training camp. It's a different beast."
Campbell said teams come together over sweat and fighting through adversity together. There will be a more typical way he has experienced recently. Rooming with teammates in a dorm setting.
Campbell, Grady Jarrett, David Onyemata and Campbell thought, as of this morning, Ta'Quon Graham were joining him in a four-bedroom suite on the Falcons training grounds.
"I haven't been in this environment for a while, where you're in dorms and have roommates," Campbell said. "It's going to be an adjustment, but the biggest things is that people understand the sharing of snacks [he likes PayDay candybars and gummy candies). In years past we play cards and build camaraderie, but the best roommates don't make too much noise playing video games all night. We'll break bread together, talk some trash and build that brotherhood.
Atlanta Falcons veterans make their return to Flowery Branch for the 2023 AT&T Training Camp.