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NFL: Goodell's letter says fans 'deserve better' than distractions
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated.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.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell tells fans "you deserve better" than games worked by replacement officials.

In an open letter released by the league Friday, a day after the regular officials returned to the field, Goodell says: "I regret we were not able to secure an agreement sooner in the process and avoid the unfortunate distractions to the game."

The officials were locked out in June with the two sides unable to reach a new collective bargaining agreement. Replacements were used for three weeks to increasing criticism from players, coaches and fans. The dispute reached deafening levels when a missed call cost the Green Bay Packers a win against the Seattle Seahawks on Monday night.

Officials arrived Friday at a Dallas-area hotel to discuss and vote on an eight-year agreement reached with the league late Wednesday. They were meeting Friday night with a vote on the contract expected Saturday morning.

League levies fines

Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed, Detroit Lions linebacker Stephen Tulloch and Pittsburgh Steelers safety Ryan Mundy each have been fined $21,000 by the NFL for flagrant hits.

Reed was fined for striking defenseless Patriots receiver Deion Branch in the head and neck area last Sunday night. Tulloch was docked for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Tennessee tight end Craig Stevens. Mundy's hit on Raiders receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey resulted in his fine.

Around the league

Jets • Coach Rex Ryan says the team is not ready to place star cornerback Darrelle Revis on season-ending injured reserve in case he recovers from a torn knee ligament in time to play in the Super Bowl.

Eagles • Philadelphia will retire former safety Brian Dawins' No. 20 before its game against the New York Giants on Sunday.

Bills • Running back Fred Jackson has the team doctor's clearance to play Sunday against New England. Jackson sprained his knee in Buffalo's season-opening loss to the New York Jets. —

Week 4 schedule

Thursday

• Baltimore 23, Cleveland 16

Sunday

• Tennessee at Houston, 11 a.m.

• San Diego at Kansas City, 11 a.m.

• Seattle at St. Louis, 11 a.m.

• New England at Buffalo, 11 a.m.

• Minnesota at Detroit, 11 a.m.

• Carolina at Atlanta, 11 a.m.

• San Francisco at N.Y. Jets, 11 a.m.

• Miami at Arizona, 2:05 p.m.

• Oakland at Denver, 2:05 p.m., Ch. 2

• Cincinnati at Jacksonville, 2:05 p.m.

• New Orleans at Green Bay, 2:25 p.m.

• Washington at Tampa Bay, 2:25 p.m.

• N.Y. Giants at Philadelphia, 6:20 p.m., Ch. 5

Monday

Chicago at Dallas, 6:30 p.m., ESPN

NFL notes • Letter to fans addresses fiasco involving officials.
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