by Aaron Wilson
May 22, 02014
The NFL has a dozen first-year officials and two new referees, the league announced.
The NFL promoted Ronald Torbert and Craig Wrolstad to referee, replacing retirees Scott Gree nand Ron Winter. Wrolstad has spent the past 11 seasons as a field judge while Torbert has worked the past four as a side judge.
The 12 first-year NFL officials are all graduates of the NFL officiating development program, which is designed to train top college football officials in all aspects of NFL officiating. They will be on the field at team organized team activities.
“The NFL is about constantly striving to improve performance, and that is certainly the case for our game officials,” said NFL vice president of pfficiating Dean Blandino. “Both Ron and Craig have proven to be outstanding NFL officials and they are ready to assume the increased responsibilities of the referee position. Our 12 first-year officials were all among the best in college football. We are excited about having them on the field.”
The 12 first-year NFL officials: Brad Allen, Brad Freeman, Eugene Hall, Shawn Hochuli, John Jenkins, Alex Kemp, Rich Martinez, Bryan Neale, Scott Novak, Steve Patrick, Patrick Turner, Ed Walker
Joining the 119 NFL officials on the field this summer will be the 21 officials at the most advanced level of the officiating development program. That group, who will work at minicamps in June and officiate a preseason game as part of an NFL officiating crew in August, includes two females, Sarah Thomas, a line judge who returns to the program for a second year, and Maia Chaka, a head linesman in her first year in the NFL program. Both Thomas and Chaka officiated in Conference USA in 2013.
Two members of the NFL roster of officials – Steve Freeman and Philip McKinnelly – are former NFL players. Fourteen former NFL players and one current player, safety Chris Crocker of the Cincinnati Bengals, have taken part in recent officiating clinics to introduce current and former players to a possible career in officiating.
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Aaron Wilson covers the Ravens for The Baltimore Sun