Report: NFL exploring option of replacement officials

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The NFL solved its labor issue with players last summer, ending a lockout in time to play the regular season on time.

Now, the league will have to reach an accord with its officials in order to ensure the top men in the profession are calling games when the season begins in September.

Alex Marvez of reports the NFL has directed its officiating scouting department to begin looking for potential replacement officials for this coming season. According to Marvez, the NFL and the NFL Referees Associated “have reached an impasse” in talks for a new contract.

The league has not used replacement players since 1987 but the NFL used replacement officials for the opening week in 2001. NFL officials, in their previous contract, earned between $70,000 and $140,000 per season. They are not full-time employees.

A league spokesman told Marvez the NFL is hopeful a resolution will be reached.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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