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Report: Real refs could be back soon

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Report: Real refs could be back soon

Reports are swirling that a deal is close for the National Football League to bring back the regular referees, perhaps as soon as this weekend.

Comcast SportsNet confirmed that regular referees are preparing to vote on a new proposal from the NFL for a collective bargaining agreement with the referee union. If the agreement is approved, referees could be back on the field as early as this weekend.

Contract negotiations were accelerated this week after the fiasco that decided the Monday Night Football game between Green Bay and Seattle. That game was decided on the final play of the game when one referee ruled a touchdown and another ruled an interception of a Hail Mary pass thrown by Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson.

The Monday Night Football play drew the ire of seemingly the entire country, with many players and even President Obama voicing concerns over the officiating in the NFL.

Until an agreement is reached, it is unclear if the Baltimore Ravens will take the field in Thursday night's game against the Cleveland Browns with the real refs on the field are face another game with replacements refs.

Baltimore's last game, against the New England Patriots, ended with much controversy with questionable calls from the replacements refs. The Washington Redskins game against the Cincinnati Bengals ended in similar controversy, with the replacement referees incorrectly deciding the game was over prematurely.

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If hairline fracture not enough, Cowboys Dez Bryant reportedly fined

If hairline fracture not enough, Cowboys Dez Bryant reportedly fined

Even when things are going well in Dallas it seems like controversy is never too far away. The latest stems from wide receiver Dez Bryant injuring his right knee during last Sunday's victory over the Bears. 

News of the severity of the injury did not emerge until Wednesday, when Cowboys coach Jason Garrett revealed Bryant suffered a hairline fracture where his tibia bone hits the knee. 

Why the wait? Reports from Dallas show that Bryant missed his scheduled MRI on Tuesday and the tests could not be held until Wednesday. Bryant also missed team meetings on Tuesday. 

MORE REDSKINS: PREPARING WITHOUT DOCTSON

Due to missing the meetings and MRI Tuesday, Bryant has been fined an undisclosed amount, per the reports

The injury comes at a tough time for the Cowboys as the offense has moved the ball well with rookie QB Dak Prescott. 

Dallas has won two games in a row after a narrow loss to the Giants to open the year. In three games, Bryant has 150 receiving yards and a touchdown. 

Against Washington in Week 2, Bryant went for more than 100 yards receiving. Late in that game, the Redskins began to shadow Bryant with Josh Norman. 

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Redskins preparing for Browns - without Josh Doctson

Redskins preparing for Browns - without Josh Doctson

After making a late call to put Josh Doctson on the inactive list last week against the Giants, the Redskins are preparing to play without the rookie receiver on Sunday unless his Achilles injury dramatically improves. The team is practicing with Rashad Ross as the fifth wideout for Cleveland, a source told CSN.

"It was actually last minute. It was 11:30 a.m.," Gruden said of taking Doctson off the active list in New York and replacing him with Ross.

"He just didn’t feel comfortable, couldn’t push off the way he wanted to so we had to make that last minute switch."

Gruden explained the team has lingering concerns about Doctson's availability as he continues to battle an Achilles injury. The rookie did not practice Wednesday, and the coach said he will not practice again Thursday, though he added the injury could stretch much longer. 

"It could be a possibility or a time that we put him down for a couple more weeks or a couple more days like we’re taking him off today, probably set him down tomorrow, see if that helps him a little bit," Gruden said. "This is new to everybody I think and the key is to get him healthy like you say. We are not trying to rush him."

Doctson has been active for two of the Redskins three games, and has two catches for 66 yards. He did show some of his ability on a long completion from Kirk Cousins against Dallas, though largely, Doctson and the Redskins have been frustrated by the injury.

"I am concerned. We’ve had all of the tests and there is really nothing there that we should be concerned about from a long-term problem, it’s just he is dealing with some pain," Gruden said. "We don’t know why it is but we have to try and figure out what it is and get it fixed."

For Washington, Ross likely will return kicks against Cleveland if Doctson is down. Active for the first time in New York, Ross had not practiced in that role throughout the week, and Chris Thompson and Will Blackmon shared the kick returning duties. With the Redskins preparing to play Ross, it means he can get the work returning kicks this week in advance of the Browns game. It also helps alleviate some of the workload from Blackmon, who will now be starting at free safety after DeAngelo Hall tore his ACL in New York.

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