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.
By Jason Dobkin (@jasondobkin)
Stephen A. Smith mocked the Redskins on ESPN First Take on Monday after their loss to the Lions Sunday, continuing the back-and-forth between the team and the television personality.
He told the Redskins "bravo again" for losing the close game that apparently was enough to prove the point he made last week on the show that the Redskins had a loser's mentality and were "inept" and "nonexistent." Smith loudly took issue with Chris Baker's and Ricky-Jean Francois' declaration that the Redskins "run the East," saying they need to be focusing on the big picture.
Baker tweeted at him the next day, demanding respect, and Smith stuck to his guns the next day on First Take.
On Monday, Smith mocked Jay Gruden for defending his team at a press conference, where he said Smith was "out of line" for his comments and that he didn't know anything about who the Redskins were or the work they put in.
"And of course there’s the great Jay Gruden, because we know he’s great just by his name alone," Smith said. "Let’s be clear about that. We know that he’s great, [because he] takes time out of his busy schedule to comment about me."
"Who gives a damn about hard work?" he went on to say. "It's about results."
Baker held back from engaging with Smith on Twitter this time.
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While the Redskins are not yet out of the woods regarding Trent Williams’ knee injury, the news sounds better than Williams looked after the game on Sunday.
Jay Gruden confirmed an earlier report that an MRI revealed no structural damage to the left knee of the Pro Bowl left tackle. He went down near the end of the Redskins’ 20-17 loss to the Lions and he needed assistance to get back to the locker room. After talking to the press, he had a decided limp as he walked to the team bus.
“That’s [the MRI results] good news, but we have to still monitor him during the week and see how he does,” said Gruden.
Guard Brandon Scherff left the game briefly after suffering a sprained AC joint in his shoulder. “He’s sore,” said Gruden. “He’s a tough sucker, but he’s sore.”
Scherff will be monitored in practice as well.
Gruden also said that cornerback Bashaud Breeland is sore after suffering a sprained ankle. He missed two games with a right ankle injury earlier this season but Gruden said that his injury is to his left ankle.