INDIANAPOLIS — Get out those calendars — or, for those with advanced technical knowledge, break out your personal digital assistants.
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 2019 and get into the beginning of 2020.
Those NFL dates, like clockwork, were released in recent days. 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 Transition Program to be hosted by individual clubs. 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 three years ago and took the place of the Rookie Symposium, which at the time 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 continue playing a huge role in this for Indy.
• July 24: The Colts’ veterans report to training camp 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’ 2019 preseason opener against the Buffalo Bills, Thursday, Aug. 8, at New Era Field.
• Aug. 31: 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/NonFootball 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 two years ago. This has given 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. 1: Claiming period for players placed on waivers at the final roster reduction will expire at 12:00 noon, New York time. 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 additional international player to a 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 passing his preseason physical examination and must have been 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. 29: All trading ends for 2018 at 4 p.m,, New York time.
• Dec. 30: Earliest permissible date for clubs to renegotiate or extend the rookie contract of a drafted rookie who was selected in any round of the 2017 NFL Draft or any undrafted rookie signed in 2018. 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: safety Malik Hooker, cornerback Quincy Wilson, running back Marlon Mack, defensive tackle Grover Stewart, cornerback Nate Hairston, linebacker Anthony Walker, linebacker Skai Moore and safety George Odum. Also that day, the option exercise period begins for Fifth-Year Option for First-Round Selections from the 2017 NFL Draft. To exercise the the option, the club must give written notice to the player on or after December 30, 2019, but prior to May 5, 2020. In this case, for the Colts, that player would be Hooker.
• Jan. 4-5, 2020: Wild Card Playoff Games.
• Jan. 11-12: Divisional Playoff Games.
• Jan. 19: AFC and NFC Championship Games.
• Jan. 26: NFL Pro Bowl
• Feb 2: Super Bowl LIV, Hard Rock Stadium; Miami Gardens, Fla.
• Feb. 24-March 2: NFL Scouting Combine, Lucas Oil Stadium; Indianapolis
• Feb 25: First day for clubs to designate Franchise or Transition Players.
• March 10: Prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, deadline for clubs to designate Franchise or Transition Players.
• March 16-18: During the period beginning at 12:00 noon, New York time, on March 16 and ending at 3:59:59 p.m., New York time, on March 18, 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 2019 Player Contracts at 4:00 p.m., New York time, on March 18. No prospective Unrestricted Free Agent is permitted to execute a contract with a new club until 4:00 p.m., New York time, on March 18.
• March 18: The 2018 League Year and Free Agency period begin at 4:00 p.m., New York time.
• April 20: Clubs with returning head coaches may begin offseason workout programs. Clubs with a new head coach after the end of the 2019 regular season may begin offseason workout program April 6.
• April 23-25: 2020 NFL Draft; Las Vegas.
A visual look at the Colts 2019 regular season schedule.