Report: Locked-out refs could return soon - New York News

Report: Locked-out refs could return soon

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Two days after a controversial call cost the Green Bay Packers a win, the NFL and the referees' union are reportedly nearing an end to a lockout that put replacement officials on the field since the start of the season.
 
According to several reports, the NFL and the union are close to a new deal that would allow the league's regular officials to return to work, possibly as early as this weekend.
 
ESPN reported Wednesday that "an agreement in principle is at hand," and The New York Times reported that the sides ""were closing in" on a way to end the impasse. ESPN cited unidentified sources from both sides; the Times cited a person briefed on the negotiations.

ESPN reported that although league sources said it would take a week to get the locked-out officials on the field, the union says its  referees have been trained on the new rules and have already passed physicals or are prepared to pass physicals immediately.

A person familiar with the situation tells The Associated Press that the NFL and its locked-out officials were meeting Wednesday. The sides met for about 14 hours starting Tuesday into early Wednesday. They broke for a few hours before reconvening in an attempt to resolve the dispute and end the firestorm over the use of replacement refs.

Both sides reportedly have made concessions on previous sticking points such as a taxi squad of 21 new officials and pension plans.

 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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