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Important 2019 NFL Dates To Remember

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With the Pittsburgh Steelers already in their off-season, their are some important dates for NFL fans to keep in mind like start of free agency, NFL Draft, Franchise Tag dates, etc.

Make sure to mark these dates down in your computer or your personal calendar.

IMPORTANT 2019 NFL DATES:

January 14: Deadline for college players that are underclassmen to apply for special eligibility. A list of players who are accepted into the NFL Draft will be sent to clubs on January 18.

January 19: East-West Shrine Game, Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Florida.

January 26: Senior Bowl, Ladd-Peebles Stadium, Mobile, Alabama.

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

February 26-March 4: NFL Combine Training and Test, Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, Indiana.

March 5: Prior to 4 PM, deadline for clubs to designate Franchise or Transition Players.

March 13: The 2019 League Year and Free Agency period begins at 4 PM.

March 13: Trading period for 2019 begins at 4 PM, after expiration of all 2018 contracts.

March 24-27: Annual NFL League Meetings, Phoenix, Arizona.

April 1: Clubs that hired a new head coach after the end of the 2018 regular season may begin offseason workout programs.

April 15: Clubs with returning head coaches may begin offseason workout programs.

April 19: Deadline for Restricted Free Agents to sign Offer Sheets.

April 24: Deadline for prior club to exercise right of first refusal to restricted free agents.

April 25-27: NFL Draft, Nashville, Tennessee.

NFL

Around the NFL: Championship Game Sunday Features four Star QBs

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Green Bay Packers, 3:05 p.m., WPGH-TV

It will be a Battle of the Bays in the early slot Sunday, as Tom Brady and the Buccaneers visit Aaron Rodgers and the Packers.

Tampa and their athletic defense got the better of Green Bay back in Week 6, winning handedly 38-10 and holding Rodgers to his worst performance of the season.

The Bucs’ relentless pass rush had Rodgers under constant duress, sacking to probable MVP four times and picking him off twice. Rodgers was also held without a touchdown pass for the only time in 2020.

As for Brady and the Bucs, he tossed for 166 yards and two touchdowns of his own. Tampa Bay running back Ronald Jones II had 113 yards and two scores on the ground.

Playing the best football of his career since that loss to Tampa Bay, Rodgers will assuredly be looking to avenge his poor performance back in October to reach his second Super Bowl. He carved up a stout Los Angeles Rams defense for 296 yards and three total touchdowns a week ago, and has tossed one interception over his last 210 pass attempts.

He will try to keep that unblemished streak alive against a Buccaneers defense that picked off New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees three times a week ago.

Tampa’s Tom Brady can reach his tenth Super Bowl with a win over the Packers. No stranger to performing in the elements, Brady will look to carve up the improving Green Bay defense with his patented surgical precision.

Buffalo Bills at Kansas City Chiefs, 6:40 p.m., KDKA-TV

While two legends are squaring off in the NFC, a pair of rising stars will go toe-to-toe in the AFC Championship game, as Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs welcome Josh Allen and the Bills.

Cleared from concussion protocol after leaving last week’s win over the Cleveland Browns, Mahomes is still battling a toe injury that could hamper his signature mobility. Luckily for Kansas City, Buffalo is 22nd in the league in pressure rate.

Even without his scrambling, Mahomes is still a threat from the pocket, coming off a season where he threw 38 touchdowns and just six interceptions.

The Chiefs offense will get a boost to take the heat off Mahomes on Sunday night as well, with rookie running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire set to make his return from injury.

Turning to the Bills, they are here behind an MVP-caliber season from Allen, who has made tremendous strides in his third season. His 45 total touchdowns this year are the most ever by a Buffalo quarterback, while he improved his completion percentage by 10.4 percentage points, now at 69.2%.

Allen has protected the football well this season with just ten interceptions, but he will have to be extra cautious opposing the safety Tyrann Mathieu and the Chiefs defense. The “Honey Badger” has five interceptions in his last six games.

Kansas City is looking reach their second-straight Super Bowl, while Buffalo is pursuing their first appearance since 1993.

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Baltimore Ravens Sign WR Deon Cain to Reserve/Future Contract

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The Baltimore Ravens have signed former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Deon Cain to a Reserve/Future contract, the club announced Friday.

Cain spent the last two seasons with Pittsburgh, spending the majority of the 2020 season on the practice squad. He appeared into two games this past season, including the season finale loss to the Cleveland Browns, but recorded no stats.

Cain saw more extended action in 2019, where he appeared in six games and made three starts. He tallied five receptions for 72 yards a season ago.

A star for the Clemson Tigers, Cain was selected in the sixth round of the 2018 NFL Draft by the Indianapolis Colts. He caught 130 passes for 2,040 yards and 20 touchdowns during his Clemson career.

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Washington’s Alex Smith Beats Ben Roethlisberger for PFWA Comeback Player of the Year

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Washington quarterback Alex Smith has been named the NFL Comeback Player of the Year by the Pro Football Writers of America, edging out Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

After suffering a significant leg injury in 2018 and subsequent infection that nearly took his limb, Smith made his unlikely return to the field in 2020, leading Washington to a division title and playoff appearance.

Smith passed for 1,582 yards and six touchdowns with eight interceptions, but led Washington to a 5-1 record in his six starts. He is the first Washington player to win the award since its inception in 1992.

Roethlisberger was also believed to be a worthy candidate for Comeback Player of the Year, leading the Steelers to a 12-4 campaign and AFC North title after missing the majority of 2019 with a season-ending elbow injury. The 38-year-old threw for 3,803 yards and 33 touchdowns with ten interceptions.

Running back Jerome Bettis (1997) and quarterback Tommy Maddox (2003) are the only two Steelers to have previously been awarded Comeback Player of the Year.

Smith was not the only quarterback recognized by the PFWA on Friday, as Buffalo’s Josh Allen was awarded Most Improved Player of the Year.

Allen made a remarkable jump in 2020, passing for 4,544 yards and 37 touchdowns with ten interceptions. He also accounted for eight scores on the ground.

Not only were his 37 touchdowns seven more than in his first two seasons combined, but Allen also completed a career-high 69.2% of his passes, a ten percentage-point increase from a season ago.

Allen will have another opportunity to demonstrate his jump in play Sunday when the Bills visit the Kansas City Chiefs for the AFC Championship game.

Two Steelers have previously been named the league’s Most Improved Player, quarterback Kordell Stewart in 2002 and running back Le’Veon Bell in2015.

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