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Bears announce key offseason dates

The Bears have announced that they will conduct their rookie minicamp May 16-18 and their mandatory full-squad minicamp June 17-19, and begin OTA workouts May 27.

The team will start its offseason program on Tuesday, April 22. Under terms of the NFL's collective bargaining agreement, offseason programs are limited to nine weeks and will consist of three different phases.

During the first phase, which will be conducted during the first two weeks, activities will be limited to strength and conditioning and physical rehab, with only strength and conditioning coaches allowed on the field with players. Helmets are prohibited, and footballs are permitted on the field only for quarterbacks throwing to receivers provided they are not covered by other players.

In the second phase, which will take place over the next three weeks, all coaches will be allowed on the field. Workouts may include individual player instruction and drills, but helmets and drills pitting the offense against the defense are prohibited.

The third phase, which will be conducted over the next four weeks, may include up to 10 days of organized team activity (OTA) workouts. All coaches are permitted on the field and players may wear helmets, but one-on-one drills involving the offense and defense are not allowed.

Live contact is prohibited in all offseason workouts; and (excluding OTAs and minicamp) players may not be at the club facility for more than four hours per day, four days per week, on weekends, or on the field for more than 90 minutes per day.

Here are some other key offseason dates:

Feb. 19-25
NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.

March 3
Deadline for clubs to designate Franchise or Transition Players.

March 8
Clubs are permitted to contact and enter into contract negotiations with the certified agents of players who will become unrestricted free agents upon the expiration of their 2013 player contracts at 3 p.m. (CT) on March 11. However, a contract cannot be executed with a new club until 3 p.m. (CT) on March 11.

March 11
Prior to 3 p.m. (CT), clubs must: 1) be under the 2014 salary cap; 2) exercise options for 2014 on all players who have option clauses in their 2013 contracts; 3) submit Qualifying Offers to their Restricted Free Agents with expiring contracts and to whom they desire to retain a Right of First Refusal/Compensation; and 4) submit a Minimum Salary Tender to retain exclusive negotiating rights to their players with expiring 2013 contracts and who have fewer than three Accrued Seasons of free agency credit.

Also at 3 p.m. (CT), all 2013 player contracts will expire and the 2014 league year and free agency will begin.

May 2
Deadline for restricted free agents to sign offer sheets.

May 7
Deadline for prior club to exercise right of first refusal to restricted free agents.

May 8-10
2014 NFL Draft, New York City.

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