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Game officials chosen for Super Bowl

Game officials chosen for Super Bowl

NEW ORLEANS (AP) In a season that began with criticism of replacement refs, the NFL found itself dealing with questions Wednesday about the qualifications of its lead official for the Super Bowl.

Jerome Boger, a member of NFL officiating crews for nine years, will be the referee Sunday in his first NFL title game amid accusations by a former official-turned-broadcaster that the league doctored his rating.

Boger has worked four divisional playoff games, including the San Francisco 49ers' victory over Green Bay this year. He entered the league as a line judge in 2004, and was promoted to referee in 2006. He is only the second black referee to work the title game, following Mike Carey five years ago.

His impending selection, which was formally announced Wednesday, was criticized earlier this week by Jim Daopoulos, who was quoted in The New York Times as saying the grading of some officials, including Boger, was altered.

Daopoulos worked 11 years as an on-field official and 12 years as a supervisor before joining NBC as an analyst.

``I'm looking at the seven guys who are working in the Super Bowl, and to be quite honest, several of them should not be on the field,'' Daopoulos told the Times.

Daopoulos told the paper he believed the league predetermined who would work the Super Bowl.

The league and the referees' union have denied such claims, citing the evaluation process. Ray Anderson, NFL executive vice president of football operations, called the allegations ``patently false and insulting to Jerome Boger.''

Attempts to reach Boger were unsuccessful. The NFL does not make officiating crews available before games.

Under the NFL officiating program's evaluation system, the highest-rated eligible officials at each position are chosen for the Super Bowl. The officials must have at least five years of NFL experience and previous playoff assignments.

The other game officials announced Wednesday are Darrell Jenkins (umpire), Steve Stelljes (head linesman), Byron Boston (line judge), Craig Wrolstad (field judge), Joe Larrew (side judge) and Dino Paganelli (back judge).

Boger's selection was applauded by the NFL Referees Association and the Fritz Pollard Alliance, a group of minority coaches, front office, scouting and gameday NFL officials.

``This is a well-deserved honor for each member of the crew,'' said Tim Millis, NFLRA executive director. ``The Super Bowl XLVII crew, led by referee and crew chief Jerome Boger, all had an excellent 2012 season.''

John Wooten, chairman of the Fritz Pollard Alliance, called the criticism ``unfair, inaccurate and offensive.''

He said the league has ``an elaborate system of checks and balances, and changes to the grading only occur after careful review and agreement by nine supervisors.''

``There is an appeal process,'' he said. ``The final scoring is calculated by an outside vendor. Tampering with Boger's grades so that he would be the top referee did not happen and could not happen. After a 17-week season, Jerome came out No. 1 in the scoring system fair and square. He earned the right to be the Super Bowl referee.''

Boger worked the next-to-last game of the season between the Raiders and Panthers in Carolina. During that Panthers victory, quarterback Cam Newton bumped Boger while disputing a call. Newton was penalized but not ejected because Boger said he didn't feel the bump was enough to warrant an ejection.

``It wasn't of a malicious nature,'' Boger said at the time.

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Retired Steve Smith Sr. not interested in working out with current players

Retired Steve Smith Sr. not interested in working out with current players

Since announcing his retirement, former Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. says numerous players are expressing a desire to train with him this offseason.

It’s understandable why players would want to be mentored by Smith, after his brilliant 16-year career.

But while Smith has the time, he does not have the desire.

“People have been calling me, ‘Hey, wanted to work out…let’s watch some film…I need to work on some releases,”’ Smith said to James Lofton and Brad Hopkins on Sirius XM NFL Radio.

“I had some DB’s calling me, ‘Hey, you can give me some line work’, and all that stuff. When I was at the Super Bowl…I had probably about three or four people text me, saying, ‘Hey, let’s get up’, and I had some agents call me for their guy to help them work their guy out, get him prepared for the combine.

“And I had to take a step back and I said, ‘You know what? If I do all these things, now I’m getting my mind and body to say I can still play.

“So I had to text some guys and say, ‘You know what? I don’t think it’s a good idea for me to watch film with you and work out and train with you because that means I’m telling myself and my family I’m about to go play again. And I don’t want to go through that process. I’m done playing.’

“So if I’m training anybody, their last name is Smith, meaning my kids. I’m just going to love on them, and that training is less intense. The goal is so lesser. It’s, ‘Hey, let’s make sure we’re drinking water, fluid, and all that stuff.’ Out there, when you’re training for ball, it’s a different animal. So I said, ‘No.’’’

Smith sounds determined not to play anymore. He recently signed with NFL Network as an analyst, and he has not given any mixed signals about his desire to start a new chapter in his life.

Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti said at the “State of the Ravens’’ press conference that if Smith wanted to return, the door was open.

However, Smith seems content to keep that door closed.  

RELATED: THE BEST OF STEVE SMITH SR. TRASH TALK

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Former Ravens RB Trent Richardson arrested on domestic violence charge

Former Ravens RB Trent Richardson arrested on domestic violence charge

Former Alabama Crimson Tide running back Trent Richardson, who was signed by the Ravens in April 2016, was arrested Thursday night in Hoover, Ala. on a domestic violence charge, according to Hoover police.

Richardson, who was drafted by the Browns with No 3 overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, joined the Ravens during the 2016 offseason before being waived prior to the start of training camp in August.

According to the report, Richardson was arrested following an incident at the Hyatt Place Hotel and was charged with one count of third-degree domestic violence. 

The argument between Richardson and the women began at a nearby Walmart before the altercation turned physical. 

RELATED: RICHARDSON DISCUSSES FAMILY FREELOADING

"Officers were able to make contact with an adult male and adult female who were involved in a domestic altercation," police said in the official release.

"After interviewing both parties it was determined that the two individuals had been arguing earlier while at the Walmart on John Hawkins Parkway and that the dispute continued after they arrived back at the hotel. At some point the situation turned physical and the female sustained injuries (scratches and bruising) about her face."

Richardson's NFL career has been wrought with disappointment.  He played just 17 games for the Browns — averaging 3.6 yards per carry—  before he was traded to the Colts in 2013. His numbers declined even more, and he was released at the end of the 2014 season. He spent the 2015 offseason with the Raiders, but was released before the beginning of the Regular season.

Richardson's last appearance in a regular season NFL game took place in a December 2014 Colts' victory over the Patriots in which he ran for 11 yards on six carries.

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