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Mike BarryEye on the Island

By Mike Barry
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Jets’ Hofstra Visit

True to the organization’s word, the New York Jets are returning next week for their annual pilgrimage to Hofstra University, site of the squad’s summer training camp between 1968 and 2008.

The Jets’ one-night-only appearance in Nassau County will take place this year on Wednesday evening, Aug. 25, at Hofstra’s James Shuart Stadium. The 13,000-seat facility is just south of Hempstead Turnpike in Hempstead. Billed as Family Practice Night, the Jets’ public workout will get under way at 6 p.m. There is no admission fee.

The team is also bringing to Hofstra‘s campus on Aug. 25 the Jets Shop, the official team store, and Generation JetsFest, its interactive theme park for kids, with both opening at 4 p.m. and closing at 7 p.m. The Jets Shop is a mobile version of the team’s mid-town Manhattan retail outlet, offering for sale jerseys, hats, T-shirts and other collectibles whereas JetsFest gives youngsters the chance to test their football skills.

Woody Johnson, the Jets’ owner, tried mightily a few years ago to move the Jets into a new stadium which would have been built on the far west side of Manhattan, an effort that was thwarted by the leaders of the New York state Senate and the state Assembly at the time. That legislative maneuver set into motion the Jets’ decision to discontinue their contractual relationship with Hofstra, although Johnson said an annual return to their roots would become a rite of summer on Long Island.

Fans visiting Hofstra on Wednesday, Aug. 25 can catch the Jets as they prepare for their Friday, Aug. 27 exhibition game against the Washington Redskins, to be played in the godforsaken Meadowlands, albeit at a new stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Jets’ 16-game regular season schedule starts on Monday evening, Sept. 13 in a nationally televised contest with the Baltimore Ravens.

Many Jets aficionados have already been spending part of their Wednesday nights with the team, watching HBO’s Hard Knocks, a one-hour program that combines elements of reality TV and documentary-style filmmaking while giving viewers an inside look at the Jets’ training camp this month at the State University of New York in Cortland. The show, to be aired in five installments over a five-week period, had its debut on Wednesday, Aug. 11 and continues with a new show every Wednesday at 10 p.m. through Wednesday, Sept. 8.

Like other HBO fare, Hard Knocks is for mature audiences, and the relentless cussing of Jets head coach Rex Ryan would make the cast of MTV’s Jersey Shore blush. Still, having seen the Aug. 11 episode of Hard Knocks, I must say HBO creatively weaved into its broadcast a number of compelling storylines. The team’s contract dispute with star cornerback Darrelle Revis and the three-player contest to become the Jets’ starting fullback were among the premiere’s highlights. And, even though the NFL is involved in Hard Knocks’ production, there was little sugarcoating of the NFL’s business side. Some of the most riveting scenes focused on players who were actively participating in training camp one day, and unemployed the next.

Mike Barry, a corporate communications consultant, has worked in government and journalism. Email: