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2009 NFL Key Dates

TAMPA, FL - FEBRUARY 01:  A marching band performs during the pre-game show prior to the start of Super Bowl XLIII between the Arizona Cardinals and the Pittsburgh Steelers on February 1, 2009 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)
LVCorrespondent IMay 14, 2009

These are the 2009 key dates that everyone around the league including the guys from Inside the NFL will be talking about

Philadelphia, Pa — Here is a list of key dates that I believe every football fan will need to know going into the 2009 NFL season. 

I am sure every NFL talking head including Brian Baldinger, Peter King, Chris Berman, Fran Charles, Ray Didinger, and others will have these dates circled on their calendars.

  • February 5 — The first opportunity for clubs to designate franchise and transition players.
  • February 8 —  AFC-NFC Pro Bowl, Honolulu, Hawaii (NBC) – This is the game that no one watches or cares about. The players will get their last Hawaiin vacation in the 2009 All-Star game as all future Pro Bowls will be held in the Super Bowl city the week prior to the big game’s festiviities.
  • February 18-24 — NFL Scouting Combine, Indianapolis, Indiana – The NFL’s annual pro prospect poking and prodding event
  • February 19 — Deadline for clubs to designate franchise and transition players.
  • February 26 — Deadline for submission of qualifying offers by clubs to their restricted free agents (fewer than 3 years of free agency credit) whose contracts have expired and to whom they desire to retain a right of first refusal/compensation.
  • February 27 — Veteran free agency signing and Trading periods begin
  • March 22-25  — NFL Annual Meeting, Dana Point, California.
  • April 17 — Signing period ends for restricted free agents.
  • April 24 — Deadline for old club to exercise right of first refusal to restricted free agents.
  • April 25-26  — NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall in New York City.
  • May 18-20 — NFL Spring Meeting, Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
  • June 1 — Deadline for old clubs to send tender to unsigned unrestricted free agents to receive exclusive negotiating rights for rest of season if player is not signed by another club by July 22.
  • Around July 12 — NFL Supplemental Draft – The NFL’s “special” draft for players wishing to enter the NFL for a number of reasons (Academics, Family Obligations, etc.) that missed the main NFL Draft in April.  If a team elects to use a supplemental draft pick on one of the eligible prospects, that team will give up its pick in the same round in next April’s draft (2010).
  • July 22 — Signing period ends at 4:00 PM ET for unrestricted free agents who received June 1 tender. This means that a player unhappy with the contract tendered to him can either sign the deal or holdout. Once the deadline passes, franchise players can sign only one-year deals with their current teams.  .
  • August 8 – Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2009 Enshrinement Ceremonies.  The newest class of enshrinees (DE Bruce Smith, Bills Owner Ralph Wilson, G Randall McDaniel, WR Bullett Bob Hayes, LB Derrick Thomas and CB Rod Woodson) will be formally inducted into the PHOF in a ceremony held at Fawcett Stadium in Canton, Ohio.
  • August 13-17 — First preseason weekend with featured match-ups: Arizona at Pittsburgh (ESPN, 8/13), Carolina at NY Giants (ESPN, 8/17), and Dallas at Oakland
  • August 20-24 – Second preseason weekend with featured match-ups: Philadelphia at Indianapolis (FOX, 8/20), Tennessee at Dallas (FOX, 8/21), and NY Jets at Baltimore (ESPN, 8/24)
  • August 27-31 – Third preseason weekend with featured match-ups: Miami at Tampa Bay (FOX, 8/27), New England at Washington (CBS, 8/28), San Diego at Atlanta (CBS, 8/29), Chicago at Denver (NBC, 8/30), and Minnesota at Houston (ESPN, 8/31)
  • September 1 — Roster cutdown to maximum of 75 players. 
  • September 3-4 – Fourth preseason weekend with featured match-ups: Indianapolis at Cincinnati, Kansas City at St. Louis, and Philadelphia at NY Jets
  • September 5 — Roster cutdown to maximum of 53 players.
  • September 7 — NFL teams can sign up to 8 players to their practice squad.
  • September 10-14 — Kickoff 2009 Weekend. For the sixth consecutive season the Super Bowl champion will open the slate as the champion Steelers host the Titans on Sept. 10 at 8:30 p.m. ET on NBC. The Sunday night (9/13) primetime game will feature a division match-up as the Green Bay Packers host the Chicago Bears (NBC, 8:30 p.m. ET). On Monday, Sept. 14, ESPN will host a “Monday Night Football” doubleheader that will be part of the NFL’s celebration of the 50th anniversary season of the American Football League. The four clubs competing that night began playing in the inaugural 1960 AFL season. The first game will send the Buffalo Bills at the New England Patriots (7:00 p.m. ET) and MNF nightcap San Diego Chargers at  the Oakland Raiders (10:15 p.m. ET)
  • Late May thru July – For the second year in a row, rookies from all 32 NFL teams are scheduled to visit the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
  • June 1 — Under CBA rules, this date allows veterans that have received signing bonuses in the past to be cut by their teams without their entire signing bonus kicking-in for the current cap year.  By cutting a veteran after this date, the past signing bonuses can be stretched into the next cap year rather than taking a hit all at once.
  • June 15 — Deadline for old clubs to withdraw original qualifying offer to unsigned restricted free agents and still retain exclusive negotiating rights by substituting tender of 110 percent of previous year’s salary.
  • June 28 – July 1 — NFL Rookie Symposium, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. This is the yearly NFL freshman basic skills prep course
  • Late July — Training camps open. 
  • August 9 –  Pro Football Hall of Fame Game featuring the Buffalo Bills vs.Tennessee Titans (NBC). The NFL’s 2009 season kicks off with the preseason opener featuring at Fawcett Stadium in Canton, Ohio.
  • Around October 24th — NFL Trade Deadline – This is the last chance for teams to grab players from other teams via a trade, but don’t hold your breath.
  • October 25 – Regular season NFL football returns to London, England for the 3rd year in a row as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers host the New England Patriots at Wembley Stadium in London. The game will be broadcast on CBS in the United States and on Sky Sports and BBC in the United Kingdom
  • November 15 – Players on NFL teams’ Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list must be activated by Week 10.  If they are not moved off the list, they must be removed from the team’s active roster.
  • November 26 – NFL Thanksgiving Day Games:  Green Bay Packers at the Detroit Lions (Fox, 12:30 p.m. ET), Oakland Raiders at the Dallas Cowboys (CBS, 4:15 PM ET); The Raiders’ first Thanksgiving game since 1970; New York Giants visiting the Denver Broncos (NFL Network, 8:20 p.m. ET)
  • November  29 — The Canadian Football League (CFL) season will commence with the playing of the 97th Grey Cup game in Calgary (TSN)
  • January 9 -10 — Wild Card Weekend (NBC, CBS, and Fox)
  • January 16 -17 — Divisional Playoffs (CBS and Fox)
  • January 24 — AFC and NFC Championship Games (CBS and Fox)
  • January 31  — NFL Pro Bowl with AFC All-Stars vs. NFC All-Stars in Miami, FL (CBS)
  • February 7  — Super Bowl XLIV in Miami, Florida  (CBS)


Lloyd Vance is a Sr. NFL Writer for Taking It to the House and an award-winning member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA)

Posted in 2009 NFL Free Agency Dates, 2009 NFL Key Dates, 2009 NFL Season, 2009 Thanksgiving Games Tagged: 2009 NFL Free Agency Dates, 2009 NFL Key Dates, 2009 NFL Season, 2009 Thanksgiving Games, Football, NFL, Sports

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