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Reports: Replacement refs to call games

Aug. 29, 2012 at 4:40 PM

NEW YORK, Aug. 29 (UPI) -- Replacement officials will be on the field during the first week of regular-season NFL games, the league said Wednesday.

With the lack of a labor agreement, regular referees have been locked out from NFL pre-season games, and with the regular season approaching, they wouldn't be ready to go even if a deal was struck over the Labor Day weekend, NFL.com and Sporting News reported.

Thus replacement refs will be on the field when the regular schedule begins Sept. 5 and continues through Sept. 10, NFL Executive Vice President Ray Anderson told Sporting News.

"We can't assume that they're in great shape and ready to go. So we'll have to do a physical assessment," he said. "They'll have to go through two or three days of our clinics to make sure they're up to speed on the rule changes and points of emphasis."

Anderson also said it's possible the lockout could be a lengthy one, adding, "Hopefully there will come a point when we will get back to the table, but I don't know when that might occur."

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