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This Week in NFL History (June 28 to July 4): Hall of Fame QB John Elway turns 61

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

June 28

-- The Cardinals re-signed HOF Dick "Night Train" Lane to a 1-year deal in 1958

  • 2nd straight offseason signing a 1-year deal
  • Earned his 4th & final Pro Bowl selection with the Cardinals in 1958 (his age 30 season; 2 INT, started all 12 games)
  • Traded to the Lions prior to the 1960 season (3 consecutive Pro Bowl from 1960-1962 seasons)

- Notable Birthdays: LB Chuck Howley (85) & HOF John Elway (61)

June 29

-- The Colts signed QB Andrew Luck to a 5-year, $123M contract extension in 2016

  • 3 consecutive Pro Bowl selections in Luck's first 3 seasons (2012-2014, HOF Dan Marino is the only other QB to do so)
  • Only played 2 seasons (2017-2018) into extension
  • Retired following 2018 season after being hampered by numerous injuries throughout career despite winning 2018 AP Comeback Player of the Year after throwing 39 pass TD following a shoulder injury that caused him to miss the 2017 season

-- Notable Birthdays: HOF Claude Humphrey (77) & HOF Dan Dierdorf (72)

June 30

-- The Portsmouth Spartans moved to Detroit & were re-named the Lions in 1934

  • Purchased by NBC Blue Network (Now ABC) radio executive George A. Richards for around $23,000 (Sold the team to Fred Mandel in 1940 for $225,000)
  • The Lions are worth $2.1B today, according to Forbes

-- The NFL awarded Atlanta the league's 15th franchise in 1965

  • Awarded to a 41-year-old life insurance executive Rankin M. Smith for $8.5M
  • The Falcons participated in their 1st NFL Draft in December of 1965 (Selected TEX LB Tommy Nobis 1st overall) & played their 1st season in 1966

- Notable Birthdays: HOF Dan Reeves, WR Miles Austin (37) & TEN WR A.J. Brown (24)

July 1

-- Over 400 former NFL players from the pre-1959 era received their 1st payments from NFL owners in 1987

  • A special payment program (Bert Bell NFL Pension Plan) was adopted to benefit former NFL players who participated in the NFL before the Bert Bell NFL Player Retirement Plan (1st player pension agreement) was adopted in 1962
  • Players covered by the new program spent at least 5 seasons in the NFL & played all or part of their career prior to 1959 (each vested player would receive $60 per month for each year of service in the NFL for life)

 - Notable Birthday: HOF Mike Haynes (68)

July 2

- WR/Returner Devin Hester signed a 4-year rookie deal with the Bears in 2006

  • Earned a Pro Bowl selection & 1st-Team All-Pro selection as a rookie after leading the NFL in punt return yards (600), punt return TD (3) & kickoff return TD (2) in 2006
  • Remains the only player in NFL history to take the opening kickoff of the Super Bowl for a TD (92-yard kickoff return TD to open Super Bowl XLI at the conclusion of the 2006 season)
  • Selected 57th overall (2nd Rd) in the 2006 NFL Draft

July 3

-- Notable Birthday: KC DT Chris Jones (27)

July 4

-- Notable Birthdays: HOF Al Davis, HOF Floyd Little & MIA CB Xavien Howard (28)

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