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Season to begin with replacement officials

Published September 1, 2012 6:22 pm

NFL notes • Lockout of referees continues; teams tweak rosters.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The NFL and its on-field referees union failed to reach an agreement when they met Saturday, and the league said it's proceeding with replacement officials.

The NFL locked out the referees in early June, then hired replacements, whose work in exhibition games has been heavily criticized.

"We met with the NFL this morning and discussed various potential solutions to reach a new collective bargaining agreement," Michael Arnold, lead negotiator for the NFL Referees Association, said in a statement. "Unfortunately, we were unable to reach any agreement.

"We are disappointed because it means that our members will not be back on the field for Week 1 of the regular season due to the NFL's continuing lockout. We remain willing to negotiate with the NFL in order to reach a fair agreement."

Commissioner Roger Goodell was among the league officials involved in Saturday's session.

"Commissioner Goodell and other NFL staff members concluded three days of talks today with representatives of the NFLRA without reaching an agreement," NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said. "No further talks are scheduled. We are proceeding with the replacement officials."

In 2001, the NFL used replacements for the first week of the regular season before a contract was finalized. The speed of the game and the amount of time starters are on the field increase for real games, making the replacements' task more challenging.

Ray Anderson, the NFL's executive vice president of football operations, told the clubs in a memo Wednesday that the replacements will work "as much of the regular season as necessary," adding that training with each crew will continue.

Around the league

Seahawks • Seattle waived tight end Kellen Winslow, who had three catches for 34 yards and a touchdown in the preseason. The Seahawks thought they could create mismatches using Winslow and fellow tight end Zach Miller lined up against slower linebackers or smaller safeties. Winslow was acquired in a trade with Tampa Bay in May.

Broncos • Denver signed former University of Utah nose tackle Sealver Siliga and six other players to its practice squad Saturday after they failed to make the 53-man roster.

Bears • Chicago signed eight players to its practice squad, including former BYU running back Harvey Unga.

Giants • Cornerback Prince Amukamara probably will miss New York's season opener against Dallas on Wednesday because of a high ankle sprain, coach Tom Coughlin said.

Browns • Sidelined for nearly a month, rookie running back Trent Richardson might play in Cleveland's season opener. Richardson, who underwent knee surgery Aug. 9, rode a stationary bike before Saturday's practice and remained on the field with his teammates as they began preparing for next week's game against Philadelphia. Browns coach Pat Shurmur said that if Richardson is able to practice this week, he'll face the Eagles.