CHATHAM, NJ - Cougar Field was unexpectedly closed for "maintenance" on Saturday at around noon time in order to allow Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos to run a practice.
According to Steven Nestler, whose son, Matt, is a running back for the Chatham varsity football team, the security was so tight that he couldn't get close enough to take a picture. In fact, he was told that he wasn't allowed to take a picture of the buses parked at the field.
"A beautiful Saturday morning and at 11 a.m. I dropped off my son and his friend at Cougar Field to practice lacrosse," Nestler said. "Forty-five minutes later, he called and said they were closing Cougar field, the whole facility. As I was leaving, I asked the gentleman at the gate why it was closing and he said for maintenance. As we were driving home we were talking about how odd it was to close the field, especially on a Saturday."
The word got out on twitter that the Denver Broncos were at Cougar field, preparing for Sunday's game against Eli Manning and the Giants.
"I grabbed my camera and headed back," Nestler said. "It's not every day an NFL team is practicing at Cougar. I thought I could get some pictures for the local news since no one knew ahead of time they would be here. As I got out of my car I was told absolutely no one was allowed near the field. I explained I would take a few pictures and leave.
"No way. No one. I could see four Coach buses lined up in the parking lot. As I walked away I took out my camera to get a shot of the buses with the field in the background. I was told again `no pictures.' From what security told me, it was not unusual for NFL teams to run a practice this way."
Turns out, the Broncos aren't the first NFL team to practice in Chatham.
"It goes back to the (Bill) Belichick incident a few years ago," said Nestler of the New England Patriots coach. "Cars started to pull in as word got out, all were turned away. They did a short walk through, headed to the buses, and they were gone. I can't believe in a small town like Chatham word didn't get out earlier, but this is the NFL. I hope they appreciated their time here, should be a good game Sunday."