With the NFL Scouting Combine now complete, the search for top young talent shifts from Indianapolis to Tampa, as the NFL Europe League begins training camp under the Florida sunshine in preparation for the 2004 season.
The football world will turn its attention to Tampa and the 229 NFL allocated players hoping to make their mark in Europe before returning to their NFL teams. Included in this group is Dallas Cowboys quarterback Chad Hutchinson, who seeks to win the starting job with the Rhein Fire.
"The quarterback position is one of the most difficult in this business, and that's why NFL Europe is so crucial," says Carolina Panthers quarterback Jake Delhomme, who spent 1998 (Amsterdam Admirals) and 1999 (Frankfurt Galaxy) abroad. "You get young players to play in game situations, and you don't get that in practice. My time in Europe was a huge factor in my development."
A look at key dates on the NFL Europe League 2004 calendar:
NFL Europe League Administrative Meetings in Tampa
Player arrivals and orientation: quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers, tight ends, centers
Player arrivals and orientation: offensive linemen, defensive linemen, linebackers, defensive backs, kickers, punters
First full-squad practices
Combined practices at 31st Street Complex, St. Petersburg
Practice with the Pros Youth Clinic at Raymond James Stadium
International Media Reception at Raymond James Stadium
Game-condition scrimmages at Raymond James Stadium
Combined Practices at 31st Street Complex, St. Petersburg
Final game-condition scrimmages at 31st Street Complex, St. Petersburg
Final roster cutdown to 47 players
Teams depart for Europe
NFL Europe League seasons begins
World Bowl XII at Gelsenkirchen, Germany