The NFL informed its teams Wednesday that it plans to open the regular season next week with replacement officials on the field.
“The replacements have undergone extensive training and evaluation, and have shown steady improvement during the preseason,” Ray Anderson, the league’s executive vice president of football operations, wrote in a memo to teams.
“We will continue the training with each crew and they will work as much of the regular season as necessary. The replacement officials are dedicated and enthusiastic, have worked very hard to improve, and have persevered despite the attacks on their qualifications and performance. We are all grateful for their service to the NFL.”
Replacement officials have worked the preseason while members of the NFL Referees Association have been locked out by the league.
“Our negotiations with the game officials’ union remain deadlocked,” the league’s memo to the teams said. “Although we continue to be in touch with federal mediators, and are prepared to resume negotiations at any time, no discussions are currently scheduled.”
The regular season begins next Wednesday with the New York Giants hosting the Dallas Cowboys. The Washington Redskins begin the season the following Sunday, Sept. 9, at New Orleans.
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