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NFL announces 2017 calendar of important dates for Colts

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NFL: Indianapolis Colts-Minicamp Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The 2017 season isn’t too far away now, as the Colts have already wrapped up their offseason program. Though there’s still just over a month left until training camp begins, the focus has shifted toward that point, and the NFL today released their calendar for the 2017 season.

As we take a look at that schedule relevant to Colts fans, the most notable place to begin is with the start of training camp. Though the NFL didn’t officially announce the start date for each team - it’s allowed to be 15 days before their preseason opener - we had previously learned of the Colts’ start date: Saturday, July 29. Training camp this year will, for the first time ever, be held at the team’s West 56th Street complex, which means fans won’t be allowed to watch. The team will attempt to make up for it by holding two open practices, one on Sunday, July 30 at Lucas Oil Stadium, and the other on Saturday, August 5 at Warren Central High School.

The Hall of Fame game will then kick off the NFL preseason schedule, with that game taking place on Thursday, August 3, between the Arizona Cardinals and the Dallas Cowboys. Though this game doesn’t involve the Colts, NFL fans typically mark this date because it’s the first time in months that football has actually been on the TV... and then after a few minutes, the game has worn out its welcome. The Hall of Fame induction will take place on Saturday, August 5. No Colts will be inducted this year, snapping their streak at three players in the last two years, but it’s still a time to honor some of the all-time greats.

The Colts will open the preseason on Sunday, August 13 against the Detroit Lions at Lucas Oil Stadium for a 1:30 kickoff. In the days leading up to that game, the Colts will hold joint practices with the Lions, on August 10 and 11 (a Thursday and Friday).

Following the conclusion of the fourth preseason games, teams must cut their rosters down to 53 players by 4:00 p.m. ET on Saturday, September 2. This year, the league passed a rule change that eliminates the first cutdown, so this one will be straight from 90 players to 53 - which is a lot! So this will be a day in which a ton of players get cut, and teams will have to have their rosters down to the 53-man limit.

The following day, on Sunday, September 3, at 12:00 p.m. ET, the players waived the following day will clear waivers - or, if they were claimed, will be awarded to those teams. Given how many players will have been cut the day before, we could definitely see even more action than usual when it comes to waiver claims. Also on that day, at around 1:00 p.m. ET, teams will be able to sign players to their ten-man practice squad.

The NFL regular season will begin on Thursday, September 7, with the New England Patriots hosting the Kansas City Chiefs. The rest of the league will open their schedules later that weekend, with the Colts opening on the road against the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday, September 10, at 4:05 p.m. ET.

During the season, there aren’t too many notable dates to mention. On September 26, the waiver claim order becomes the reverse of the current season standings. On October 17-18 will be the Fall League Meetings in New York, and on December 13 will be another League Meeting in Irving, Texas. The most significant date in the midst of the NFL season is the trade deadline, which is 4:00 p.m. ET on Tuesday, October 31. Though there will be plenty of rumors leading up to this deadline, we typically don’t see much action happen.

The regular season wraps up on Sunday, December 31, which for the Colts means hosting the Houston Texans at 1:00 p.m. ET. Following that is the postseason, and there could be more significance for the Colts - they could make the postseason... or they could be looking for a new head coach. In either case, they’d still be busy in January - but there’s plenty of time to monitor any of those potential storylines as the season goes on.