Report: NFL refs could return by this weekend

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff  September 26, 2012 12:09 PM

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The NFL and the NFL Referees Association have an agreement in principle "at hand" to end the lockout of the officials, a source told ESPN's Chris Mortensen.

The two sides made enough progress Tuesday night that the regular officials could return to game action as soon as this weekend, according to the report. Replacement referees have been used for the first three weeks of the season.

Controversial calls
have been front-and-center in several key games. Monday night's Packers-Seahawks game ended with a questionable touchdown as Seattle's Golden Tate was awarded the score despite Green Bay's M.D. Jennings appearing to have possession and despite a non-call on Tate for pushing off another defender. Administering the rules in a timely fashion has also been an issue for the replacements.

The league and the union have been negotiating over compensation for the officials, with a pension plan being one of the sticking points. Sources told Mortensen that the final hurdle in getting a deal done is "about a little more money."

We'll bring you more on the story as it develops.

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