2018-19 Important Dates For The Indianapolis Colts

The National Football League this week released its important dates for the rest of 2018 and the beginning of 2019. Which of these dates could be relevant to the Indianapolis Colts?

Indianapolis Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton (13) looks on from the sidelines as he uses a Microsoft Surface Tablet during a week 6 NFL football game against the New England Patriots on Sunday, October 18, 2015 in Indianapolis. The Patriots defeated the Colts 34-27. (Scott Boehm via AP)

INDIANAPOLIS — Break those calendars out once again.

While the Indianapolis Colts already have their next few months planned out when it comes to their training camp and the regular season schedules, there are still a few key dates released by the league about this time each year that complete the rest of 2018 and get into the beginning of 2019.

Those NFL dates, like clockwork, were released this week. You can see the entire release by clicking here, but here are a few dates that could be considered relevant to the Colts:

• Late June: Rookie Experience Transition Program to be held at individual clubs. Attendance is mandatory for all 2017 rookies. This is a "rookie onboarding platform" hosted by each team that is "designed to provide the resources for a successful transition to the NFL." This was started two years ago and took the place of the Rookie Symposium, which was only available to drafted rookies. At this program, Colts rookies can expect to learn about social responsibility, mental health, character, values and player engagement resources — and much more. Expect David Thornton, Director of Player Engagement, to once again play a huge role in this for Indy.

• July 25: The Colts' veterans report to training camp for the first time at Grand Park Sports Campus in Westfield, Ind. Teams' report dates can be no more than 15 days prior to their first preseason game, and this date is exactly 15 days from the Colts' 2018 preseason opener against the Seattle Seahawks, Thursday, Aug. 9, at CenturyLink Field.

• Aug. 7: If a drafted rookie has not signed with his club by this date, he cannot be traded to any other club in 2018, and may sign a player contract only with the drafting club until the day of the Draft in the 2019 League Year. Currently, linebacker Darius Leonard and guard Braden Smith are the only two Colts draft picks left unsigned.

• Sept. 1: Prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, clubs must reduce rosters to a maximum of 53 players on the Active/Inactive List. Simultaneously with the cut-down to 53, clubs that have players in the categories of Active/Physically Unable to Perform or Active/Non-Football Injury or Illness must select one of the following options: place player on Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform or Reserve/Non-Football Injury or Illness, whichever is applicable; request waivers; terminate contract; trade contract; or continue to count the player on the Active List. Previously, there was a cutdown to 75 prior to the final cut to 53, but that was eliminated last season. This gives the Colts and every other team an extended period with 90-player preseason/training camp rosters, which could translate to better overall competition and fewer injuries.

• Sept. 2: Claiming period for players placed on waivers at the final roster reduction will expire at 12:00 noon, New York time. Also, upon receipt of the Personnel Notice at approximately 1:00 p.m., New York time, clubs may establish a Practice Squad of 10 players (clubs participating in the International Player Development Program) may sign one player to an International Practice Player Contract.) No club, including the player's prior club, will be permitted to sign a player to a Practice Player Contract until all clubs have received simultaneous notification via the above Personnel Notice that such player's prior NFL Player Contract has been terminated via the waiver system.

• Mid-October: Beginning on the sixth calendar day prior to a club's seventh regular season game (including any bye week) clubs are permitted to begin practicing players on Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform and Reserve/Non-Football Injury or Illness for a period not to exceed 21 days. Players may be activated during the 21-day practice period, or prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, on the day after the conclusion of the 21-day period, provided that no player may be activated to participate in a Week 6 game. At any time after six weeks have elapsed since a player was placed on Reserve/Injured or Reserve/Non-Football Injury/Illness, each club is permitted to designate two players for return from either list to the club's 53-player Active/Inactive List. A player who is "Designated For Return" must have suffered a major football-related injury or non-football-related injury or illness after reporting to training camp and must have be en placed on the applicable Reserve List after 4:00 p.m., New York time, on the day after the final roster reduction. A player whom the club wishes to designate for return is permitted to return to practice for a period not to exceed 21 days. The club is required to notify the League office that the player has been "Designated For Return" on the first day the player begins to practice. The player cannot be returned to the Active/Inactive List until eight weeks have elapsed since the date he was placed on Reserve.

• Oct. 30: All trading ends for 2018 at 4 p.m,, New York time.

• Dec. 31: Earliest permissible date for clubs to renegotiate or extend the rookie contract of a drafted rookie who was selected in any round of the 2016 NFL Draft. Any permissible renegotiated or extended player contract will not be considered a rookie contract, and will not be subject to the rules that limit rookie contracts. Those currently on the roster who could be eligible: center Ryan Kelly, safety T.J. Green, tackle Le'Raven Clark, defensive tackle Hassan Ridgeway, linebacker Antonio Morrison and guard/tackle Joe Haeg. Also that day, the option exercise period begins for Fifth-Year Option for First-Round Selections from the 2016 NFL Draft. To exercise the the option, the club must give written notice to the player on or after December 31, 2018, but prior to May 3, 2019. In this case, for the Colts, that player would be Kelly.

• Jan. 5-6, 2019: Wild Card Playoff Games.

• Jan. 12-13: Divisional Playoff Games.

• Jan. 20: AFC and NFC Championship Games.

• Jan. 27: NFL Pro Bowl, Camping World Stadium; Orlando, Fla.

• Feb 3: Super Bowl LIII, Mercedes-Benz Stadium; Atlanta.

Feb 19: First day for clubs to designate Franchise or Transition Players.

• Feb. 26-March 4: NFL Scouting Combine, Lucas Oil Stadium; Indianapolis.

• March 5: Prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, deadline for clubs to designate Franchise or Transition Players.

• March 11-13: During the period beginning at 12:00 noon, New York time, on March 12 and ending at 3:59:59 p.m., New York time, on March 14, clubs are permitted to contact, and enter into contract negotiations with, the certified agents of players who will become Unrestricted Free Agents upon the expiration of their 2017 Player Contracts at 4:00 p.m., New York time, on March 14. However, a contract cannot be executed with a new club until 4:00 p.m., New York time, on March 14. During the above two-day negotiating period, no direct contact is permitted between a prospective Unrestricted Free Agent and any employee or representative of a club, other than the player's current club.

March 13: The 2018 League Year and Free Agency period begin at 4:00 p.m., New York time.

• April 15: Clubs with returning head coaches may begin offseason workout programs. Clubs with a new head coach after the end of the 2017 regular season may begin offseason workout program April 1.

• April 25-27: 2019 NFL Draft; Nashville.

A visual look at the Colts 2018 regular season schedule.

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