Roger Goodell Roger Goodell (Alex Brandon/Associated Press)

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Wednesday that replacement officials did “a very credible job” during the season’s opening weekend of games and the league can continue to use them as long as needed.
Goodell, speaking after a Capitol Hill meeting with members of Congress and military representatives about brain injuries, said there are no current negotiations with the NFL Referees Association.
The NFL has locked out the members of the referees association in a labor dispute and is using replacement officials. Goodell said he believes the league can continue to use the replacements until a deal is reached with the referees.
“We believe we can,” Goodell said. “They did a very credible job and they’re only going to get better.”
The league made a negotiating push to complete a deal just before the regular season began but the talks stalled. 
Players and the NFL Players Association have been critical of the work of the replacement officials during the preseason and the opening week of the regular season. But the league has made tentative plans for the replacements to work several more weeks of games.
Goodell also said he is preparing to meet with the four New Orleans Saints players whose suspensions for involvement in the bounty scandal were overturned Friday by an appeals panel.
“We’ve offered once again to bring the players in so that they can share their perspective. It appears they’re going to do that,” he said. “That will give us, hopefully, more information. And we’ll follow the panel’s directions.”
Goodell said he didn’t yet know when he would meet with the players.
The suspensions of Jonathan Vilma, Will Smith, Anthony Hargrove and Scott Fujita were overturned Friday by an appeals panel established by the sport’s collective bargaining agreement.
The panel ruled it was unclear to what degree the suspensions imposed by Goodell were based on salary cap issues, which are not under Goodell’s jurisdiction in this case. Goodell has authority over conduct detrimental to the league, however. 
The panel ruled that Goodell should reconsider the discipline and could re-impose sanctions if warranted.
Goodell declined to say publicly Wednesday how he came to the decision on the original suspensions.
“That’s what the panel has asked us to do,” Goodell said. “So I’d like to wait and respect the panel’s decision and make that decision clear when we have more information, including, hopefully, the players coming in.”
However, a person familiar with the case said the league’s position is that the original suspensions were based on conduct issues and Goodell would be within his rights to re-impose the same suspensions. That person spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the topic.