Football teams invite many players to training camp; some have guaranteed contraxcts and are expected to make the team, while others are minimum salaried tryout players. The minimum salaried players are often called “camp bodies”—players to practice with, but who have slim chances to make the final roster of the football team.
“Training camp body” has been cited in print since at least 1984 and “camp body” since at least 1987.
24 August 1984 The Times-Picayune (New Orleans, LA), “Veals at home in Pittsburgh” by Larry McMillen, pg. D-1:
He was drafted in the 11th round and appeared to be little more than another training camp body, mere cannon fodder for the big boys.
4 April 1987, The Times-Picayune (New Orleans, LA), “Saints Beat” by Jimmy Smith, pg. D-2, cols. 1-2:
There’s no vacancy in New Orleans at tailback, and with Hokie Gajan ready to make a comeback to battle Buford Jordan at fullback, one question remains: Will Word be anything other than a camp body?
21 July 1988, The Advocate (Baton Rouge, LA), “Jean Batiste likes chances with Saints”:
Everyone had him figured for a camp body, but he wound up beating the odds, becoming a vital part of the Saints offense and a favorite of Saints fans.
31 July 1988, Atlanta (FA) Journal-Constitution, “Falcons Rebuilding With Pieces Missing,” pg. C2:
Free agent Monte Bennett, signed the first week of camp as a training camp “body,” suddenly finds himelf the No. 1 nose tackle.
NY Jets Sign Anthony Kimble: Camp Body or Something More?
By David Wyatt on August 27, 2009
Anthony Kimble went undrafted in the 2009 NFL draft, he was signed by the Miami Dolphins, released and today signed by the Jets.
Behind the Steel Curtain (Pittsburgh Steelers)
Steelers Isaiah Green wants to be more than training camp body
By SteelCityRolleron May 11 2013, 6:51a
In every NFL training camp, there are players who will participate with little chance of making the active roster. One of those camp bodies for the Pittsburgh Steelers is DB Isaiah Green.