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Important dates to consider in Bills' coaching search

By Jay Skurski

The NFL released a calendar of significant league dates today for 2013, and some of them apply to the Buffalo Bills and their now-ongoing search for a new head coach.

I've also included some important dates in regards to the NFL Draft. Here they are, from the NFL's release:

- Jan. 6: Assistant coaches under contract to playoff clubs that have byes in the wild card weekend may be interviewed for head coaching positions through the conclusion of the wild card games.

- Jan. 13: Assistant coaches under contract to playoff clubs that won their Wild Card games may be interviewed for head coaching positions through the conclusion of Divisional Playoff games.

- Jan. 15: Deadline for underclassmen to petition for special eligibility for the 2013 NFL Draft.

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

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

- Jan. 27: An assistant coach, whose team is participating in the Super Bowl, who has previously interviewed for another club's head coaching job may have a second interview with such club no later than the Sunday preceding the Super Bowl.

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- Feb. 2: Texas vs. Nation College All-Star Game, Eagle Stadium, Allen, Texas.

- Feb. 20-26: NFL Scouting Combine, Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, Indiana.

- March 9-11: Clubs are permitted to enter into contract negotiations with certified agents of players who will be unrestricted free agents at the end of the current league year.

- March 12:

    1. All 2012 player contracts will expire at 4 p.m., New York time (that time applies to all the following items, as well).
    2. All clubs must be under the salary cap.
    3. The 2013 league year and free agency period begins.
    4. Trading period for 2013 after expiration of all 2012 contracts.
    5. Clubs must submit a minimum salary offer to retain exclusive negotiating rights to their players with expiring 2012 contracts and who have fewer than three seasons of free agency credit.
    6. Clubs must submit qualifying offers to their restricted free agents with expiring contracts and to whom they desire to retain a right of first refusal/compensation.
    7. Clubs must exercise options for 2013 on all players who have option clauses in their 2012 contracts.

March 17-20: Annual league meeting, The Biltmore, Phoenix, Arizona.

April 25-27: NFL Draft, New York City, New York.

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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham |

Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan |

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski |