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NFL calendar 2014: When does the NFL season kick off?

We look at the important dates between now and February's Super Bowl, including the regular season kickoff, trade deadline, and more.

Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

September 2 (Designated for Return IR)

After 4:00 p.m., New York time, a club is permitted to place a player on Reserve/Injured as "Designated for Return."

September 3 (Salary Cap change)

At 4:00 p.m., New York time, deadline for all NFL player contracts, practice player contracts, tender offers, and miscellaneous amounts to fit within each club's 2014 salary cap, in anticipation of the midnight expiration of the Top 51 Rule.

September 4, 7-8 (Regular Season Kickoff)

Regular Season opens.

September 23

Beginning on the Tuesday following the third weekend of regular season games, the claiming priority is based on the inverse order of the standing of clubs in the current season's games.

September 28 (International Series Game 1)

NFL International Series, Miami Dolphins vs. Oakland Raiders, London, England

October 14 (PUP return)

Beginning the day after the conclusion of the sixth regular season weekend and continuing through the day after the conclusion of the eleventh regular season weekend, 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.

October 26 (International Series Game 2)

NFL International Series, Detroit Lions vs. Atlanta Falcons, London, England

October 28 (Trade deadline)

All trading ends for 2014 at 4:00 p.m., New York time.

November 9 (International Series Game 3)

NFL International Series, Dallas Cowboys vs. Jacksonville Jaguars, London, England.

December 27 (Salary Cap roll-over)

Prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, clubs must provide the Management Council with written notice, signed by the individual club's owner, indicating the amount, if any, of the club's 2014 league year salary cap room to be credited to the club's 2015 team salary.

December 29 (Futures contracts)

Clubs may begin signing free agent players for the 2015 season.

December 29 (2012 Rookies re-negotiation window; 5th year option)

Earliest permissible date for clubs to renegotiate or extend the rookie contract of a drafted rookie who was selected in any round of the 2012 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. (Dolphins: Ryan Tannehill, Olivier Vernon, Michael Egnew, Lamar Miller, Rishard Matthews)
Option exercise period begins for Fifth-Year Option for first-round selections from the 2012 NFL Draft. To exercise the option, the club must give written notice to the player on or after December 29, 2014 but prior to May 3, 2015. (Dolphins: Ryan Tannehill)


January 3-4

Wild Card Playoff Games.

January 10-11

Divisional Playoff Games.

January 18

AFC and NFC Championship Games.

January 24 (Senior Bowl)

Senior Bowl, Ladd-Peebles Stadium, Mobile, Alabama.

January 25 (Pro Bowl)

AFC-NFC Pro Bowl, University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Arizona.

February 1 (Super Bowl)

Super Bowl XLIX, University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Arizona.