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NFL Europe League Readies For 12th Season As Training Camp Begins


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:

February 27

NFL Europe League Administrative Meetings in Tampa

Player arrivals and orientation: quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers, tight ends, centers

February 29

Player arrivals and orientation: offensive linemen, defensive linemen, linebackers, defensive backs, kickers, punters

March 1-2

Passing camp

March 2-4

Kicking camp

March 3

First full-squad practices

March 9-10

Officials arrive

March 10

Combined practices at 31st Street Complex, St. Petersburg

March 11-13

Officiating clinic

March 12

Practice with the Pros Youth Clinic at Raymond James Stadium

International Media Reception at Raymond James Stadium

March 13

Game-condition scrimmages at Raymond James Stadium

March 17

Combined Practices at 31st Street Complex, St. Petersburg

March 20

Final game-condition scrimmages at 31st Street Complex, St. Petersburg

Final roster cutdown to 47 players

March 21

Claiming deadline

March 21-25

Teams depart for Europe

April 3

NFL Europe League seasons begins

June 12

World Bowl XII at Gelsenkirchen, Germany

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