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This Week in NFL History: March 22 to March 28; Dan Fouts retires

Welcome to This Week in NFL History! Every week, the Research team will spotlight the anniversaries of notable events and birthdays.

March 22

  • Commissioner Pete Rozelle announced his retirement, pending the naming of a successor at the NFL annual meeting in Palm Desert, CA in 1989

- Served as commissioner for 30 seasons from 1960-1989 (retired in November 1989)

- Oversaw the NFL-AFL merger, the creation of the Super Bowl, Common Draft era, established team revenue sharing & significant broadcast rights contracts that allowed for every NFL game to be broadcast

- Enshrined as a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1985

  • NFL teams adopted a number of rule changes to increase offensive production including adding the 2-point conversion & modifying the roughing-the-passer rule in 1994

- Other changes including moving the spot of the kickoff back to the 30-yard line & modifying the chucking (illegal contact) rules

  • The Browns were sold to a group headed by Art Modell in 1961

- Moved Browns to Baltimore prior to 1996 season as team became the Baltimore Ravens

- Won 2 NFL Championships as owner (1964 NFL Championship as Browns & won Super Bowl XXXV as Ravens)

- 341-297-8 in 43 seasons as an owner from 1961-2003

  • The Boston Patriots changed their name to the New England Patriots in 1971

- 65-80-9 from 1960-1970 as Boston Patriots

- 454-324 (2nd-best win pct behind only the Steelers) & 6 Super Bowl Championships (T-most in SB Era with Steelers) since 1971 as the New England Patriots

  • QB Andrew Luck shined at Stanford's Pro Day in 2012

- Threw a 70-yard pass into the wind and completed 46 of 50 passes at Stanford's Pro Day

- Selected 1st overall by the Colts in the 2012 NFL Draft

- 11-5 W-L, 4,374 pass yards (set then NFL rookie pass yards record), 23 pass TD, 18 INT, 76.5 passer rating (Made Pro Bowl) as a rookie in 2012

  • WR A.J. Green worked out in front of zero NFL scouts in person at Georgia's Pro Day due to the NFL lockout in 2011

- Green's workout partner, QB Justin Roper, did not meet the eligibility requirements to participate in Georgia's Pro Day (based on his location), but Green decided to workout with Roper and let scouts watch it on TV

- Green caught 27 out of 28 passes from Roper and went on to be drafted by the Bengals with 4th overall pick of the 2011 Draft

- 65 receptions (Led all rookies), 1,057 rec yards (Led all rookies) & 7 rec TD as a rookie in 2011 (Made Pro Bowl)

  • Notable Birthdays: HOF Jimbo Covert (61), LB Thomas Davis (38) & ARI DE J.J. Watt (32)

March 23

  • In 1998, the NFL owners unanimously approved an expansion team for Cleveland to fulfill the commitment to return the Browns to the field by 1999

- The Browns were out of the NFL for 3 seasons (1996-1998) after owner Art Modell moved the team to Baltimore where they became the Ravens

- The league struck a deal with the city of Cleveland to allow them to keep the licensing rights to the Browns

- 1,358 days passed between Browns games from Week 17 (December 24), 1995 to Week 1 (September 12), 1999

  • NFL owners voted to amend postseason OT rules, guaranteeing at least one position for each team if the receiving team fails to score a TD in 2010

- Eventual Super Bowl Champion Saints won 2009 NFC Championship Game 31-28 in OT after kicking 40-yard FG on first possession of OT

  • QB Josh Allen made a big impression at Wyoming's Pro Day in 2018

- NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah said Allen was "outstanding during a 60-throw workout that drew representatives from half the league's teams"

- Selected 7th overall by the Bills in the 2018 NFL Draft

- 2,705 pass + rush yards (3rd-most among rookies behind CLE Baker Mayfield & NYJ Sam Darnold) & 18 pass + rush TD (T-2nd-most among rookies, only CLE Baker Mayfield had more) in 2017

  • RB Christian McCaffery stood on his NFL Scouting Combine numbers (4.48 40-yard dash and 37.5" vertical jump), but shined during on-field drills at Stanford's Pro Day in 2017

- Showed off his versatility in front of representatives from all 32 teams by running a variety of routes and fielding kicks and punts

 - Selected 8th overall by the Panthers in the 2017 Draft

- 1,086 scrimmage yards (4th-most among rookies) & 7 scrimmage TD (T-4th-most among rookies) in 2017

  • Notable Birthdays: QB Ron Jaworski (70), WR Brandon Marshall (37) & RB Maurice Jones-Drew (36)

March 24

  • QB Carson Wentz impressed at North Dakota State's Pro Day in 2016

- NFL Network analyst Gil Brandt said Wentz's Pro Day was "one of the best pro days he's ever witnessed"

- According to Brandt, Wentz completed 63 passes in a 65-throw script, with one overthrow and one drop

- Selected 2nd overall by the Eagles in the 2016 NFL Draft (Eagles traded 5 picks to the Browns to move up & pick Wentz)

- 3,782 pass yards (led all rookies), 16 pass TD, 14 INT & 79.3 passer rating in 2016

  • WR Antonio Brown improved his 40-yard dash at Central Michigan's Pro Day in 2010

- Dropped 40-yard dash time from 4.57 at the Combine to 4.48 at Pro Day

- Selected 195th overall (6th Round) by the Steelers in the 2010 NFL Draft; 23rd WR drafted

  • RB DeAngelo Williams had an exceptional workout at Memphis' Pro Day in 2006

- Ran a 4.40 40-yard dash (with the wind) and 4.48 40-yard dash (against the wind)

- Selected 27th overall by the Panthers in the 2006 NFL Draft

  • HOF Dan Fouts announced his retirement in 1988 after 15 seasons (1973-1987)

- 1st player in NFL history with 3 consecutive seasons of 4,000+ pass yards (1979-1981)

- 6-time Pro Bowl selection & 2-time 1st-Team All-Pro

- 1982 AP Offensive Player of the Year (Led NFL with 2,883 pass yards & 17 pass TD)

- 1993 Pro Football HOF enshrine

  • Notable Birthdays: HOF Larry Wilson & HOF Peyton Manning (45)

March 25

  • The Browns signed undrafted free-agent K Phil Dawson in 1999

- Browns record holder in most career FGM (305), most FGM in a single season (30 in 2008), most FGM in a single game (6) & most consecutive FGM (29 from 2011-2012)

- The 2013 Pro Bowl selection

- Played 14 (1999-2012) of his 20 career seasons with the Browns

March 26

  • Notable Birthdays: HOF Marcus Allen (61) & DEN LB Von Miller (32)

March 27

  • NFL clubs approved the Raiders move to Las Vegas at the annual league meeting in 2017

- 11th franchise to re-locate (Bears (Decatur to Chicago), Lions (Portsmouth Spartans to Detroit Lions), Washington (Boston to D.C.), Rams (Cleveland to LA to St. Louis to LA), Chargers (LA to San Diego to LA), Chiefs (Dallas Texans to Kansas City Chiefs), Cardinals (Chicago to St. Louis to Arizona), Colts (Baltimore to Indianapolis), Ravens (Cleveland Browns to Baltimore Ravens) & Titans (Houston Oilers to Tennessee Titans)

- The Raiders moved from Oakland (1960-1981) to Los Angeles (1982-1994) & then back to Oakland (1995-2019) before moving to Las Vegas for the 2020 season

  • TE Rob Gronkowski participated in Arizona's Pro Day in 2010

- Worked out in front of representatives from 15 teams & looked good catching the ball & running routes, adding a 4.65 40-yard dash

- Selected 42nd overall (2nd Round) by the Patriots in the 2010 NFL Draft

- Recorded 546 rec yds and 10 rec TD (T-most among TE) as a rookie in 2010

- Leads the NFL in rec TD (86) since 2010 and has the 6th-most career rec yds (8,484) by a tight end in NFL history

  • TE George Kittle boosted his draft stock at Iowa's Pro Day in 2017

- Only had 737 career receiving yds playing in Iowa's run-heavy offense, but a 38.5" vertical jump & a 4.07 20-yard shuttle (Would rank 7th-best among all TEs at the Combine from 2003-2020)

- Selected 146th overall (5th Round) in the 2017 NFL Draft

- Set a then-record for TEs with 1,377 rec yds in 2018 (Record broken by KC TE Travis Kelce in 2020)

  • Notable Birthdays: QB Randall Cunningham (58)

March 28

  • The Colts relocated from Baltimore to Indianapolis in 1984

- Owner Bob Irsay (father of Jim) moved the Colts in the middle of the night after renovations were not made to Memorial Stadium in Baltimore

- The Colts had a new stadium in place in the RCA Dome (originally Hoosier Dome), which is where they called home for 24 seasons in Indianapolis before Lucas Oil Stadium was built

- 2 Super Bowl appearances since relocating (Won Super Bowl XLI to conclude the 2006 season)

  • RB Dalvin Cook had an "exceptional workout" per NFL Network analyst Gil Brandt in front of all 32 teams at Florida State's Pro Day in 2017     

- Brandt said, "In my mind, he's the No. 2 RB prospect in the draft behind Leonard Fournette… he's explosive & catches the ball well."

- Selected 41st overall (2nd Round) in 2017 NFL Draft

- Recorded 88.5 rush ypg in 4 games his rookie season

  • CB Stephon Gilmore, DE Melvin Ingram & WR Alshon Jeffery participated at South Carolina's Pro Day in 2012

- Gilmore was particularly impressive in positional drills & Jeffery's 40-yard dash in the high 4.4/low 4.5 range helped dispel myths of a receiver of his size struggling with speed

- Gilmore (10th overall to BUF), Ingram (18th overall to SD) & Jeffery (45th overall in 2nd Round to CHI) in 2012 NFL Draft

- Gilmore (4 times), Ingram (3 times) & Jeffery (2014 Pro Bowl selection) have all made the Pro Bowl

  • Notable Birthdays: NYG OC Jason Garrett (55), DE Chris Long (36), DT Geno Atkins (33) & LV QB Derek Carr (30)

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